Taseko Mines gets clearance for Florence copper project
Taseko Mines Ltd. is announced that the Florence, AZ town council has decided it will not appeal the Aquifer Protection Permit (APP) that was recently granted by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to the company for its Florence copper project.
“We are very pleased by this decision and believe this change in approach by council signals a new beginning,” said Stuart McDonald, President of Taseko. “Our expectation is that open and productive dialogue will result and that our future together is bright.”
The permit allows Taseko to extract copper in-situ, a process done using a water-based solution.
The project, located between Phoenix and Tucson, will include 24 injection-recovery and monitoring wells. Copper will be recovered from the solution in an solvent extraction-electrowinning (SX/EW) plant, which is expected to reduce production costs and the environmental footprint of the project.
“We believe that two years of operating the test facility within the strict environmental guidelines set out in our current permits, combined with the future economic benefits from the commercial production facility, certainly contributed to Council’s decision. Transitioning Florence Copper to commercial production, which includes expanding the current wellfield and SX/EW plant, will mean an average of 85 million pounds of copper per year for 20 years beginning in late 2022,” concluded McDonald.
Development of the project is being performed in two phases – the first phase is a production test facility, which is followed by the second phase commercial facility.
The first production test facility, with 24 wells and a solvent extraction and electrowinning plant, has been operating since December 2018, to generate copper cathode.
A commercial-scale facility would follow, with the permitting process aimed at transitioning the project into the second phase – this would include an expanded wellfield and plant.
Once at full tilt, Florence is expected to produce an average of 85 million pounds of copper per year for 20 years, beginning in late 2022.