On November 18, the Resolution copper project accomplished a key milestone completing construction of the 28-ft diameter Shaft No. 10 to a final depth of 6,943 ft. This project has been used to gather geotechnical information needed to design a mine that is expected to produce 25% of the nation’s copper demand. Construction of the shaft began in 2008. Located near Superior, Arizona, the Resolution copper project is operated by Resolution Copper Mining, which is jointly owned by Rio Tinto (55%) and BHP Billiton (45%).
“The completion of this 1.3-mile deep vertical shaft is truly unprecedented in North America,” said Tom Goodell, general manager of shaft development for the Resolution project. “The safe completion of the project represents a great engineering achievement, and I am particularly proud of the team — made up mostly of miners from this area — who made it happen.”
Cementation, a contract company with expertise in safe underground mine development, supported the project, using a largely local workforce.
Mike Nadon, senior executive with Cementation, said, “Cementation is extremely proud of our site team who showed total commitment to the goals throughout the project. Their hard work, perseverance, and commitment to safety has put them in a class of their own.”
The completion of shaft sinking is a key milestone in developing what could be one of the world’s leading copper mines.
“Resolution Copper is one of the most attractive, undeveloped copper deposits in the world. It will bring jobs and meaningful economic and community benefits to the entire region,” said project director Andrew Taplin. “We have invested more than $1 billion to date in the project and most of that investment has been used to sink the exploratory shaft to full depth. Now, we are focused on working with regulators and the community to finalize our plan of operation and earn the permits we need to responsibly and safely develop and operate a world class copper mine.”
Resolution invested 1.52 million man-hours to complete the No. 10 Shaft. More than 475,000 tons of rock were excavated and the shaft sinkers poured more than 50,000 cubic yards of concrete and strung 13 miles of pipe.