Curis Resources (TSE:CUV) says that a recent vote by the town council in Florence, Arizona has allowed the company to continue preparations for the start of operations of a phase 1 production test facility for its Florence copper project.
The vote of the town council, at a meeting held on April 1, rescinded a town ordinance concerning the use and storage of sulfuric acid within town limits.
"We appreciate the willingness of Town staff and the Council to work with the company management and representatives to achieve this outcome and look forward to building on this action in the future around areas of mutual interest," said senior legal and government affairs advisor to Curis, Rita Maguire, in a release on Tuesday.
Last August, the Florence town council enacted the ordinance, declaring in-situ mining and other businesses that use large quantities of sulfuric acid to be a nuisance and a "nauseous, offensive and unwholesome business".
Under the ordinance, which has now been rescinded, any person conducting a business, except agriculture, using 50 gallons or more of sulfuric acid within any 30-day period would have been guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.
"The removal of this ordinance allows the company to continue preparations for the start of construction and operations of the Phase 1 Production Test (NASDAQ:PTF) facility, allowing the company to demonstrate the safe operation of in-situ techniques and water safeguards," said VP of environment and technical services, and general manager with Curis in Arizona, Dan Johnson.
The property, which is located in central Arizona and owned outright by Curis, hosts a shallowly buried porphyry copper deposit with a significant oxide mineral resource that is amenable to in-situ copper recovery.
The in-situ recovery process requires no movement of rock or overburden, and there is therefore a substantially smaller footprint, with much less of an environmental impact on the surrounding area than with more traditional open pit mining operations.
The technique also requires substantially less mechanical energy in the form of trucks and explosives, and therefore generates significantly lower operating and capital costs.
The Florence project has a long history - having been advanced to a prefeasibility study level, and attaining full project permits when it was owned by BHP Copper in the late 1990s.
Curis has been working to amend and update these operational permits, with the aim of starting copper production at a phase 1 production test facility late this year.
The company is still awaiting approval from the Environmental Protection Agency for an underground injection control permit for the test facility, which it anticipates will be secured in the "near future".
"We remain committed to an open and transparent dialogue with the residents and the Town and look forward to the opportunity to continue to invest in the community, provide meaningful employment opportunities for locals and contribute to the quality of life of Florence, Pinal County and the State of Arizona," said president and CEO of Curis, Michael McPhie, in the statement released Tuesday.
Using a base case 70 percent copper recovery rate, and a copper price of $2.75 per pound, the internal rate of return of the Florence copper project was projected at 29 percent.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.