Canada-based Taseko Mines has received the underground injection control permit (UIC) for the company’s fully owned Florence copper project located in Arizona, US.

The final permit for the American in-situ copper recovery project has been issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Taseko Mines president and CEO Stuart McDonald said: “Receipt of this final permit is an exciting milestone for Taseko and a testament to the project’s strong environmental attributes. We now have one of a very few construction-ready, fully permitted copper projects in North America.

“With approvals in place from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and now the EPA, we can commence construction of the Florence Copper commercial production facility.”

McDonald also said that procurement is well advanced at the copper project. He stated that it will be followed by the mobilisation of contractors for the wellfield and solvent extraction/electrowinning (SX/EW) plant construction.

Located midway between Phoenix and Tucson, the copper recovery project is being developed in two phases.

The Phase 1 production test facility, which started operation in December 2018, included 24 injection, recovery, and monitoring wells and an SX/EW plant.

Phase 1 is followed by the second phase commercial facility.

Once the Florence copper project begins commercial operations, it is expected to have an annual production capacity of 85 million pounds of copper over a mine life of 22 years.

According to the technical report released in March 2023, the American copper project has a post-tax net present value (NPV) of $930m.

Last year, Taseko Mines signed agreements with Mitsui to form a partnership to develop the Florence project.

Under the terms of the agreement, Mitsui would make an initial investment of $50m in the form of a copper stream agreement on 2.67% of the copper produced at the project.