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Company Secures Expanded Molybdenum Mining Rights, Even As Demand Falls

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management approved a renewal and expansion of mining rights Thursday for a company extracting an element used to harden metal. This expansion comes less than a year after Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan chose not to expand a similar mine, but to shut it down.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has approved Thompson Creek mine’s request for 10 more years of molybdenum mining and a 500-acre expansion at its location in Idaho.

Thompson Creek, owned by publicly traded Thompson Creek Metals, is the fourth largest molybdenum mine in the country. The largest is the Climax mine followed by the Henderson mine, both owned by Phoenix-based Freeport McMoRan.

Last December, Freeport-McMoran announced it would close its Henderson mine, citing a falling demand for molybdenum. But, this month, shortened that time period by half, as the price of molybdenum continues to fall.

Freeport-McMoRan is a natural resource company which explores and develops minerals including copper, gold molybdenum and other metals and assets. .

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Heather van Blokland was a host at KJZZ from 2016 to 2021.