Freeport-McMoRan Take on Malaria Prevention in an Indonesian City

Like many multinational corporations, Freeport-McMoRan’s philanthropic efforts often involve both the foundation and the company itself. This can add up to some relatively large scale undertakings. Also like many MNCs, Freeport-McMoRan pays special attention to the area in which it operates, like the city of Timika, located in Papua, Indonesia, where the company runs mining operations.

Before saying more, keep in mind the backstory: This company has faced serious criticism in the past for its labor and environmental practices in Indonesia, as well as its ties to repressive government authorities. Bad blood and bad press are always good reasons to step up corporate philanthropy, and Freeport-McMoRan has been pushing hard on this front in recent years. 

Which brings up to Timika, where the company recently adopted a three-pronged approach to fighting malaria. Working in teams, volunteers went door-to-door to distribute over 24,000 mosquito nets, and after passing them out, the volunteers stuck around to help residents set them up. Freeport also paid for the costs of spraying insecticide on the walls of 17,000 homes to help stop the spread of malaria.  Finally, the company provided treatment to people suffering from the disease, though the extent of what that treatment involved was not disclosed.

On the corporate side of things, Freeport-McMoRan dedicates a good deal of money to its Community Investment programs and has set up two Community Trust Funds in Indonesia and the DRC. The company recently set up a similar trust in Chile, another region where its operations have faced criticism at times.

Freeport’s corporate giving abroad typically involves issues that directly affect the local communities in which the company operates. Malaria is definitely such an issue in Papua, Indonesia. For example, one of those concerns is putting an end to the spread of malaria.

At around $175 million annually, Freeport’s Community Investment program donations add up to significantly more than what the company’s foundation doles out stateside.

In the U.S., the focus of giving for both methods at Freeport revolves around education (especially STEM), disaster relief and emergency response, women’s development, and Native American programs. The company's philanthropic arm is pretty small, with a staff of less than five, and it awards around $13 million in grants annually. The Freeport-McMoRan Foundation also limits its grantmaking to the 20 or so states in which the company operates.

Related: Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation: Grants for Disasters and Refugees

Freeport McMoRan’s giving abroad also focuses on the communities in the company operates, but invests quite a bit more in those communities. For example, the company’s contributions to its PTFI Partnership Fund in Indonesia totaled over $41 million back in 2013.