General Manager, Bagdad Operations, Freeport-McMoRan, Inc.
Medal of Merit Under Age 40
Justin Cross currently serves as the General Manager of Freeport-McMoRan Bagdad Operations. After graduating, Cross began his career with Freeport-McMoRan as a Rhenium Production Supervisor at Sierrita Operations in 2006. Since then, Cross has worked in a variety of operations and maintenance roles at various Freeport sites. He became the Hydrometallurgical Manager and a member of the Morenci Senior Leadership Team in 2012 at age 31. In 2014 Cross became Manager of Haulage at Morenci leading a department of 600 people. Cross assumed the role of General Manager of Bagdad Operations in 2016.
Cross defines success as being a part of high performing teams, regardless of his role. The opportunity to contribute to large scale mining operations and work side by side with people dedicated to meaningful work have been the biggest rewards of his career.
Cross has championed advances in the mining industry through several key initiatives, including new product commercialization serving the solar and specialty alloy industries and large scale cathode quality improvement efforts. The cathode quality initiatives allowed Morenci to achieve LME certification for its three electrowinning tankhouses and led to best practice and cathode quality improvement across Freeport-McMoRan’s hydrometallurgical operations.
Contributing to improvements more locally has also been a focal point for Cross. During his time as Manager of Haulage, Cross’ department led the charge in optimizing haulage efficiency while meeting increased mill ore requirements of Morenci’s recently expanded mill as it went from 55 to 125 ktpd. His passion for enhancing development opportunities for young mining professionals contributed to notable results in the development of the internship program and improvements in the onboarding of young professionals.
A native of Tucson, Arizona, Cross received bachelor and master’s degrees in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He is a strong supporter of SME, serving as the Morenci Section chair for 3 years. During that time he led the organization in recruiting members across a spectrum of careers and fostered a positive environment for mentoring and career development for members.