Excelsior Mining has commenced operations at its Gunnison in-situ recovery copper mine in southern Arizona after receiving approval from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
It was permitted to inject acid to procure copper from the mine, where it started delivering mining fluids to its copper ore body. The fluids will circulate through a closed-loop system until the copper concentration in the solution meets sufficient grade levels. It will then be treated at the company’s Johnson Camp processing facilities to extract copper and produce cathode sheets.
Excelsior expects the first copper cathode sales by the end of Q1-2020, it said in a statement.
Stephen Twyerould, Excelsior’s president and chief executive officer, said the company is confident it will deliver low-cost copper production in a safe and ecologically sound environment.
The company is estimated to have invested around $49mn in the project, which will likely produce 2,200mn lbs of copper cathode over 24 years.