The Final Days of South Bisbee

Editor May 31, 2013 1

By Michael Nehl Royer
Arizona Community Press |

Freeport-McMoRan is destroying South Bisbee… and they don’t want anyone to know about it.

For the last year they have been getting people to sign waivers of health liability from the Gold & Copper Mining Company, while clearing the Houses that once made up this quaint area in Bisbee, Arizona.

The previous land leaser of the town, Phelps Dodge (bought out by Freeport-McMoRan in 2007), had agreements with the people of South Bisbee. Oh, how the times have changed.

South Bisbee Goodbye:

Freeport-McMoRan has coerced their way into nearly wiping out the whole town of South Bisbee – which mining companies frequently do to small communities. They have under-valued the properties in effort to reduce the monetary compensation for the people who’ve been paying for (and investing in) the property for years. Freeport-McMoRan has, however, offered counseling to the people who they pressured into moving and will even send realtors and house movers! (Roll eyes.) This is all done to help expedite the move.

Which leads us to the still unknown question: What is Freeport-McMoRan doing with South Bisbee?


Heida Austin is a 73 year old woman living on a limited income. This weekend, on June 2nd, her lease is up. Freeport-McMoRan has been pressuring her to sign the agreement that they’ve gotten all of the other 12 households in South Bisbee to sign. Yet, she knew something wasn’t right and still hasn’t signed!

She has been fighting a multi-national, billion-dollar company without legal support. Big questions linger: Is the lease even valid? And, have they fulfilled the mining claim that they claim to own the rights to? Without showing proof, or without any investigation into it, this story ought to not to be the foregone conclusion that it seems to be.

This Saturday evening and Sunday morning (June 1-2, ‘13) she will be hosting people to come over and visit with her, hoping that people learn from each other in order to see how we can stop such terrible things from happening to people. Freeport-McMoRan is a devastating corporation, to say the least. Their tactics for how they attain land and resources are as dirty as there mining practices that they force upon their non-unionized workers.


For 23 years she was lead to believe that she was going to (be able to) stay at her house in South Bisbee, so she made numerous (and costly) improvements to the property. Yet, all of a sudden, Freeport-McMoRan is trying to take the land. Which leads to the some of the following conclusions: 1) The land is extremely polluted; air, water, and soil. 2) They want to develop the land: inside and outside of South Bisbee. 3) There is something in the Earth that they want.

They know what’s in the soil, but no one else does. Also, water is potentially a big issue at play here, yet it’s not even being discussed by Freeport-McMoRan. A soil replacement program in which they are going around the whole town of Bisbee and replacing people’s topsoil shows that they are literally trying to cover up something.

Occupy Interviews the Hero of South Bisbee:

Heida isn’t the only victim of Freeport-McMoRan’s ‘evil ways’. Freeport-McMoRan uses threats and intimidation to get people to do what the company wants all the time. Regarding labor, the company is not a fan of unions or fair pay. They have some of the richest CEO’s in Arizona and the World, yet most of their workers are barely making a livable wage in the United States. And, yet, it’s even worse in their International operations.

Notably, Freeport-McMoRan has committed numerous Human Rights violations throughout the World, notably in West Papua and East Timor.  Recently, another one of their mines collapsed, killing people. Yet, they try to escape the responsibility.

Fear, pressure, forceful intimidation, and bullying are all things that Freeport-McMoRan is doing to many people. They play psychological games and manipulate; pit the workers versus the home owners versus the community; and corrupt the politicians.

NOTE: they are Arizona’s charter member of the infamous American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

How much more can the international community be silent about this murdering, thieving, eco-terrorist of a greedy corporation?

Follow the Facebook page of Occupy Freeport-McMoRan, as we will do our best to help the People and the Earth.

Freeport-McMoRan is destroying South Bisbee… and they are probably doing it illegally.
(Stay tuned for more to come.)

*Contact Michael Royer for more details or press inquiries regarding South Bisbee. Thank you

Occupy in Bisbee