â€œThis is a key milestone in the advancement of the companyâ€™s new operating asset,â€ said Taseko CEO Russell Hallbauer. â€œBy issuing this permit, the ADEQ has endorsed the environmental integrity of our project and is confident that the commercial operation will meet its state environmental laws and regulations,â€ he said.
Florence Copper is an in-situ copper recovery project located midway between Phoenix and Tucson, near the community of Florence. Development is being performed in two phases, including a phase one production test facility and a second phase commercial facility.
The Phase one facility, including 24 injection, recovery and monitoring wells and an SX/EW plant, commenced operations in December, 2018. Taseko is now advancing the permit amendment process to transition the project towards commercial production.
â€œThe US Environmental Protection Agency continues to advance their permitting process and our expectation is that the Underground Injection Control Permit will be issued in early 2021,â€Â Hallbauer sadi. â€œWith construction anticipated to commence in 2021, the timing could not be better with copper being highlighted as the metal of the future as the world aggressively transitions to a green economy.â€™â€™
When in production, Florence Copper is expected to produce 85 million pounds of copper annually at a cash cost of US$1.13 per pound over a 20-year lifespan. Based on the companyâ€™s latest technical report and supported by nearly two years of successful operation of the test facility, the project has an after-tax NPV (8%) of US$680 million at a copper price of US$3.00 per pound.
â€œWe have de-risked the project significantly since its acquisition in 2014 and believe we are on the cusp of being one of the best low-cost, fully permitted and finance copper projects in the world,â€ said Taseko President Stuart McDonald.
News that Taseko has reached a key milestone in Arizona comes after the company recently released an update related to its New Prosperity mine proposal in BC. The company has said the Tsilhqotâ€™in Nation as represented by the Tsilhqotâ€™in national government and Taseko Mines have entered into a dialogue, facilitated by the Province of British Columbia, to try and obtain a long-term solution to the conflict regarding the proposed New Prosperity mine, acknowledging Tasekoâ€™s commercial interests and the opposition of the Tsilhqotâ€™in Nation to the project.