Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.

A class action lawsuit was filed against Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., a Phoenix area copper producer. The suit aims to get the Blackwell, OK property, previously used as a zinc mill from 1916 to 1974, which is now owned by Freeport, to be cleaned of remaining contaminants. Freeport had acquired the problem property when it bought Phelps Dodge Corporation in 1999, which had acquired it from Cyprus Amax Minerals Company who had owned the Blackwell Zinc Mill. Contaminants from the smelter's smoke stacks and hazardous materials that were spread over the area by residents and contractors who used waste from the facility for highway construction and landscaping are among the areas biggest problems.

Freeport and its predecessors have been working with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality since 1992 to clean up the area and the suit seeks to speed up that process as well as compensate area residents for lost property values and set up a medical monitoring program to assess the citizens' health. The residents are frustrated with the pace of the cleanup and by the standards set by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality that are less stringent than its federal counterpart. Recent tests found that 90 percent of Blackwell homes contain high levels of arsenic and 76 percent contain high levels of lead dust. Measurement for both was above safety levels set by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

If you feel you should be included in this pending class action, please contact [Nix, Patterson & Roach]

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