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Taseko trades up on receipt of final permit for the Florence Copper project

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(Kitco News) - Copper producer Taseko Mines (TSX: TKO) (NYSE: TGB) announced Thursday that the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final Underground Injection Control Permit (UIC) for the Florence Copper project.

According to the company's statement, with approvals in place from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and now the EPA, it can commence construction of the Florence Copper commercial production facility.

Taseko's wholly owned Florence Copper, an in-situ copper recovery project, is located midway between Phoenix and Tucson near the community of Florence, Arizona.

Development of the project is being performed in two phases – the first phase is a production test facility, which is followed by the second phase commercial facility.

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

"Operating the test facility successfully demonstrated the ability to produce high-quality copper cathode, within the stringent environmental guidelines of the permits, and has confirmed the project economics,” Taseko said. 

The company added that when commercial operations begin, Florence Copper will have an annual production capacity of 85 million pounds of copper at US$1.11 per pound C1 cash costs over a 22-year mine life.

Based on a March 2023 Technical Report for the project, which is supported by results from the successful operation of a production test facility, the project has an after-tax NPV (8%) of US$930 million at a copper price of US$3.75 per pound, Taseko said.

President and CEO Stuart McDonald commented on the milestone, "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 procurement well advanced, the next steps will be mobilization of contractors for the wellfield and SX/EW plant construction.”

"The Florence Copper project is one of the least capital-intensive copper projects in the world and will have an environmental footprint smaller than any conventional open-pit or underground mining operation of comparable size,” he said.

McDonald added that low water use, low energy consumption and low carbon emissions make Florence Copper an "exceptionally green” project that will supply refined copper to the "rapidly growing US domestic market.”

Shares of the company are trading more than 15% higher today.

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