Rio Tinto announced plans for a $302 million investment of additional capital in the Resolution Copper project in Arizona. The company said that the investment, which pushes total investment into the project to more than $2 billion since 2004, will fund additional drilling, ore-body studies, infrastructure improvements and permitting activities as Rio Tinto looks to progress the project to the final stage of the project’s permitting phase.
The Resolution copper project has been in the works since 2001 and is currently in its seventh year of a comprehensive environmental review and approval process, conducted by the U.S. Forest Service under the National Environmental Policy Act. This process has involved numerous public meetings, hundreds of government to government consultations between the Forest Service and Native American tribes and the participation of individuals, environmental groups, nearby municipalities and local businesses. When fully operational, the project has the potential to supply nearly 25 percent of the United States copper demand and will create several thousand direct and indirect jobs in the Pioneer Mining District of Arizona, the company said in a statement.
Since 2004, Rio Tinto and its partners have worked to develop and permit Resolution. This includes sinking a new shaft to mining depth, rehabilitating an existing shaft, extensive drilling and ore body testing, and the permitting and public engagement process.
Rio Tinto chief executive JS Jacques said “Resolution is one of the most significant undeveloped copper deposits in the world and this additional funding demonstrates Rio Tinto’s commitment to bring the mine into production. The comprehensive permitting process is well underway with the Environmental Impact Study on track to be completed next year according to the regulators schedule.
“The rise of electric vehicles, battery storage, new transmission technology and other green energy innovations are highly copper intensive. We need to prepare now to meet this future demand. Resolution will be well positioned to provide North American manufacturers the copper that is essential to their products.”