MAC: Mines and Communities

The man who pioneered the huge - and disastrous - expansion at the Freeport-Rio Tinto Grasberg mine

Published by MAC on 2003-11-06

The man who pioneered the huge - and disastrous - expansion at the Freeport-Rio Tinto Grasberg mine has just become president of Ivanhoe Mines (chairman Robert Friedland), with a mandate to introduce similar methods to the company's major copper-gold project in Mongolia

Ivanhoe brings former Grasberg manager on board


November 06, 2003

Ivanhoe Mines has appointed former Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold executive John Macken as company president with a mandate to bring its Mongolian copper-gold discoveries into production.

Macken, 52, spent 19 years with Freeport, most recently based in New Orleans as senior vice-president strategic planning and development.

He also spent 13 years with Freeport.s Indonesian operating unit, ending up as executive vice-president and general manager at its massive Grasberg operation in Papua, the world's largest single copper-gold mine.

Ivanhoe chairman Robert Friedland, who has been acting as company president since February, said Macken's appointment was another indication of Ivanhoe's determination to be the builder of Turquoise Hill, and to play an active lead role in directing development of the project.

Macken headed a US$1 billion expansion of the Grasberg openpit and underground mining complex in a joint venture with Freeport and its largest shareholder, Rio Tinto.

"In Indonesia, John developed a strategy that optimised material movement that allowed ore production just in the openpit to attain levels of more than 200,000t per day and brought into production a new 25,000t per day underground block cave mine that today is operating at up to 50% above its installed capacity," Friedland said.

"He also directed the construction of a coal-fired power plant, a 120km transmission line, a 90,000tpd concentrator and other mine infrastructure.

"In Mongolia, Ivanhoe plans to use openpit and block cave mining methods, we also are evaluating an option to use coal-based electricity and we also expect to have an initial design throughput well in excess of 100,000tpd."

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