The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has granted Vancouver-based Taseko Mines with an aquifer protection permit (APP) for its Florence copper project to extract the red metal through a groundwater recovery process referred to as In-Situ recovery.
The project will produce copper in an SX/EW (solvent extraction-electrowinning) plant, cutting production costs along with environmental impacts of the operation, the miner said in a news release. At full scale, the Florence facility is expected to produce an average of 38,555mt of copper per year, starting at the end of 2022, for the next 20 years. The mine holds about 345mn mt grading 0.36pc copper, equivalent to 1.13mn mt of copper.
The miner reached commercial copper grade levels in June 2019 after starting operations at Florence in January 2019. The company expects to receive the Underground Injection Control Permit from the US Environmental Protection Agency soon. Commercial operations assembly may start over the year after the permit is acquired.
A two-phase expansion is planned for the project, which follows the miner’s first production test facility that produces copper cathode and has been operating since December 2018. A full-sized site will follow with permissions geared toward the next stage of operations involving development of the plant and wellfield.