Lima, JULY 25 2022Cerro Verde created value in its operations by developing 345 initiatives of the innovative INNOVA program

Cerro Verde created value in its operations by developing 345 initiatives of the innovative INNOVA program

Derek Cooke, chairman and general manager of Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde, tells us about some of the news that we will hear about within the framework of their presentation at PERUMIN 35, such as the High-Performance Culture, philosophy with which they work to achieve their objectives in terms of production, cost optimization, the environment, and others. They will also show their recent actions to improve the quality of life of the communities around them.

1. How does PERUMIN fit into the Cerro Verde company’s objectives?

We believe that it is important to spread the word that responsible mining has direct benefits for Peru's economic growth and for the improvement of the population's quality of life. We also think that it is necessary to debunk some myths about the mining activity, by explaining, for example, that mining can coexist with communities and agriculture, and contribute to their development, as it has been done in Arequipa through Cerro Verde's integrated water resource management.

Cerro Verde also contributes in terms of education, development, infrastructure, the environment, and health, and supports the community in the fight against the pandemic. This way, it contributes to the growth of different sectors of Arequipa and Peru.

For our company, it is also very important to maintain constant communication with its different stakeholders, whom we seek to inform about issues such as Cerro Verde's social responsibility programs, its production processes to obtain copper in a responsible and sustainable manner, and the positive impact that our operations have on the economy of Arequipa and Peru. For these reasons, PERUMIN is a great opportunity to fulfill this objective.

2. What are the main attractions or novelties that will be presented to the public at EXTEMIN?

For this new edition of PERUMIN, Cerro Verde wants to highlight the contribution that the mining sector can make towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations through responsible and sustainable production. Let us remember that the SDGs emerged from a historic and universal consensus that enables us to address the most urgent problems that we all—states, citizens, and companies jointly—face together in a global way today.

That is why Cerro Verde will present at PERUMIN a stand that will not only showcase this sustainability approach, but that will also reflect the High-Performance Culture that each and every one of its workers lives every day. This culture, which involves the desire to overcome challenges and improve constantly, has been applied for years at Cerro Verde and is a key element in the achievement of our objectives. That is the reason that we wish to underline it.

Knowing the importance of supplying copper produced responsibly, we are proud that Cerro Verde was one of the first mining companies to obtain the Copper Mark, the first and only certification developed in the world specifically for industries that work with this metal. This recognition was granted by The Copper Mark, an independent international entity, the same one that has granted this distinction to several of the mining operations run by Freeport-McMoRan, which also operates Cerro Verde, around the world.

3. How relevant is water in your environmental sustainability strategies?

When it comes to environmental sustainability, we must remember that Cerro Verde has been working on different projects focused on water availability for more than 15 years, because that is a fundamental right and a necessary resource for the population and productive activities in Arequipa. The execution of these initiatives is part of what we call the "Virtuous Circle of Water", which has obtained national and international recognition, and which benefits the population, as well as the flora and fauna living along the Chili River.

For that reason, Cerro Verde will continue promoting the comprehensive management of Arequipa's water resources, strengthening it with complementary works focused on agricultural projects and the improvement of hydraulic systems in order to have a better supply, efficient use, and control of water. This way, crops in agricultural areas will have greater export opportunities through a joint effort made by private companies, authorities, the agricultural sector, and, in general, all water users.

We consider it important to keep in mind that using water responsibly and efficiently is everyone's responsibility, so we think it is necessary to promote awareness, conversation, and analysis with all the actors of society: farmers, urban users, authorities, and companies, so that together we can assess and implement sustainable alternatives. Otherwise, if each actor works separately, the time will come when water scarcity will have an alarming impact on all of us.

4. What standards are Cerro Verde's environmental management controls based on?

Cerro Verde also has an environmental management system certified to ISO 14001: 2015 and recertified in January of last year. This system identifies the main environmental aspects and impacts that occur in the mine's operating areas and establishes the necessary controls for their management. We have also developed a biodiversity management plan, which includes flora and fauna conservation programs that have won awards in Peru and abroad.

5. How are you promoting diversity in your work teams?

Regarding the issue of gender equality, we should point out that Cerro Verde has a clear equal opportunity policy, and we make decisions without any kind of bias. Is there still work to be done? Of course, there is, but we have an excellent female workforce, and we are committed to implementing initiatives that bring mining closer to the population, giving everyone the same opportunity to add to this great industry, which contributes to the country’s progress.

6. What major continuous improvement projects are being implemented at the mining unit?

As we mentioned earlier, at Cerro Verde we have a High-Performance Culture, which is clearly seen not only when we reach our objectives, but also in the long list of achievements and innovations that we identify, evaluate, and implement daily concerning production, cost savings, safety, and the environment, among others.

In a short time, we have gone from being a mine that had a small concentrator and did leaching—we were the first leaching plant in Peru/South America and the third in the world—to the construction of the C1 Concentrator in 2006 and the C2 Concentrator in 2015. The two concentrator plants are designed to produce 360K tons per day, but with the innovation, empowerment, and collaboration of our team, we were able to reach an average of 427K tons per day in 2022, showing great efficiency.

Moreover, we have been able to deliver to the citizens of Arequipa what we call the Virtuous Circle of Water, which includes two dams, La Tomilla II Drinking Water Treatment Plant, and La Enlozada Wastewater Treatment Plant. Additionally, we have been awarded on more than one occasion for being one of the most innovative companies in the sector. Being a company with a low ore grade, we will always face challenges, but, with great enthusiasm, we will overcome them and continue improving.

7. What role does innovation play in the activities of the mining unit?

At this point, we would like to highlight the culture of innovation that Cerro Verde fosters in its different areas, since we have, for example, agile teams that seek value in all areas of operations. We also have a program called INNOVA, which has been going on for 12 years and which this year registered more than 1,880 ideas, of which we have already implemented about 345 at the mine.

But even more important is the communication, the participation that is established every day among our teams, who are always collaborating to be the best. This culture of innovation sets us apart from the rest and enables us to grow. A proof of that are the 9 ideas designed and implemented by the company, patented in Indecopi, which have also received multiple awards from the mining sector. This culture of innovation is part of our High-Performance Culture.

8. What are the next strategies to turn Cerro Verde into a digital mine?

During this year, we will continue to implement initiatives that will enable us to streamline a series of internal processes, thus helping us meet our objectives, despite the difficult situation caused by the pandemic.

We will also continue fostering the improvement and implementation of various technologies, but focused, at all times, on increasing the efficiency of our operations, controlling costs, and, of course, always doing so safely: these three factors are our constant guiding principles.

We also have the advantage of being part of Freeport's great global team, so we can collaborate, share ideas, and design practical improvements on an ongoing basis. Our focus is always on safety, aiming high and challenging our limits, empowering our employees, and working as one team. These are just some of the behaviors that underpin our High-Performance Culture.

Newsletter PERUMIN 35

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