Taseko Mines has received a permit from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to construct, operate, and close a 24-well test in-situ copper recovery operation at its Florence Copper project near the community of Florence, Arizona, midway between Phoenix and Tucson. The injection and recovery well system will be accompanied by a state-of-the-art solvent extraction and electro-winning facility that will produce copper cathode from solution from the wells.

Fluid injection wells at the Florence Copper project in Arizona, where Taseko Mines is testing in-situ copper recovery from a deposit containing an estimated 2.42 billion lb of Cu. (Photo: Taseko)

Taseko President and CEO Russell Hallbauer said, “With the receipt of the permit from ADEQ, we expect that our last required permit will be forthcoming shortly, and we can begin to move forward on the final stages of this safe, low-cost and environmentally responsible method of copper metal production. Our test facility will prove that this project can operate at the highest levels of environmental compliance while meeting the economic needs for jobs and a healthy economy in Pinal County.”

The Florence Copper project site hosts a shallow porphyry copper deposit with probable reserves of 340 million st containing 2.42 billion lb of copper at a grade 0.358% total copper and a total copper cutoff 0.05%.

A 2013 prefeasibility study of the Florence project estimated that the initial development capital would total $120 million for a project producing 75 million lb/y of copper. Total operating costs were estimated at $1.11/lb of copper produced over a mine life of 25 years. Time required for pre-tax payback of capital was estimated at 2.6 years.