On July 10, Phelps Dodge received the air quality permit needed for its new copper-mining operation to be constructed near Safford, Arizona, USA. Issuance of the permit came from the Air Quality Division of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Obtaining the permit allows Phelps Dodge to initiate construction of the mine. The company has been conducting allowable site preparation activity for several months. Formal construction will begin in early August. The first major construction milestone, the pouring of concrete for a secondary crusher, is scheduled to take place in late August. Plans are for the mine to be in full production in the second half of 2008.
The construction budget for Safford is approximately $550 million. Full production is projected to be some 109,000 t/y of copper. Phelps Dodge estimates the new mine will employ up to 1,000 construction workers at peak construction, about 400 full-time workers and an additional 100 contract workers. Projections are that the mine also will create approximately 250 to 300 additional indirect jobs in surrounding communities