B.M. “Mack” Rankin Jr., 83, who co-founded Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. and served as vice chairman of the board, died Wednesday. Rankin founded McMoRan Oil & Gas Co. in 1969 with partners W.K. McWilliams, who is deceased, and current Chairman Jim Bob Moffatt. In 1981, McMoRan merged with Freeport Minerals Co. to form Freeport-McMoRan Inc., the predecessor parent company, which has since become one of the largest natural resources companies in the world (see Daily GPI, July 24;Dec. 6, 2012). “We lost a brother, a friend and a valued member of our board of directors,” Moffatt said. “Mack has been a great partner and adviser for many years.” Rankin, who had more than 50 years of experience in the natural resources industry, was a member of the All American Wildcatters and from 2008 to 2010 was chairman of the U.S. Oil and Gas Association. In 2010 the Dallas native received the Texas Oil & Gas Association Distinguished Service Award. Rankin, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin (UT), was a member of the McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame and had received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the College of Business Administration. Rankin was an avid supporter of UT and endowed, among other things, a professorship in petroleum land management. The UT Longhorn athletic dining hall is named in his honor. Rankin is survived by his wife, Ashley, and son, Richard.