Taseko Mines prospects of opening the US’ next commercial in-situ recovery (ISR) copper project have been strengthened following a recent hearing held by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).
At the public hearing, which came shortly after the ADEQ issued the company with a draft Aquifer Protection Permit (APP) for its commercial ISR project, Taseko’s plans for the development of the Florence copper project received “overwhelming support”, the company said.
The public hearing is a key part of the process for the granting of the full APP. It had participation from local community members, local business owners, elected state officials and city councillors, a state senator as well as representatives from the technical services sector, Taseko reported.
Russell Hallbauer, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Taseko, said: “30 interested parties spoke at the hearing, communicating great support for the company and the project, with only one individual not in favour. The ADEQ heard loud and clear that the community wants this project to advance to commercial operation.
“The company has worked very hard to inform the Florence community on not only the safeguards in place to ensure the environmental integrity of the project, but also the environmental benefits of the Florence copper extraction process. The extensive data collected from 18 months of operating the test facility is proof that the process works, both from a technical perspective as well as environmentally.”
The ADEQ will take written correspondence for another three weeks, until October 12, before writing and issuing the final permit, Taseko says.
Taseko commenced well field operations at its Florence ISR pilot project in central Arizona, US, in January 2019, reaching “commercial grade levels” less than six months after.
The commercial Florence mine is expected to have a copper production capacity of 85 MIb/y (38,555 t/y) and a 21-year mine life.