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Curis Resources set for long-term growth, to build shareholder value in near-term

Curis Resources  (TSE:CUV) said yesterday in a recent letter to shareholders that it expects the next several months to be "particularly strong" in building value for the company, as it progresses with the development of its flagship Florence copper project in Arizona.

The 100%-owned Florence copper project is a 3+ billion pound development-stage property in central Arizona, roughly 65 miles southeast of Phoenix, with first phase construction on track to begin in early 2012.

The asset is unique, as its in-situ leach production plan, as opposed to conventional open pit, stands to benefit from buoyant copper prices, while at the same time delivering low capex and operating costs.

This is because in-situ leach recovery of copper does not require mining trucks, milling equipment, or even mining engineers, nor does it necessitate waste stripping or exposure to long-lead time equipment.

Despite a minor pull back over the last few weeks, Curis noted that copper markets remain strong, and are expected to further strengthen over the next few months, particularly as the company advances to the third and fourth quarter. Long term predictions of copper prices are now ranging between $2.75 and $3.00, which make the potential economics of the Florence project even more robust.

Indeed, Curis expects to complete an optimization program on the project, including metallurgical, power and acid trade-off studies, by the third quarter. It also anticipates the release of a positive feasibility study by the fourth quarter, and the receipt of amended operating permits for the property, all developments that are expected to boost the company's share price.

Over the past two months, the company has received independent analyst coverage from brokers, with a 12-month price target ranging from $5.60 to $5.75 per share. Currently, its share price stands at around $2.17, indicating a bullish stance.

Curis maintained in its letter that as the Florence project advances over the next six to nine months, the company's market value should reflect a closer correlation to its net asset value, which ranges between $360 and $530 million, based on varying copper prices.

Given that the company's market capitalization is currently around $120 million, there is definitely significant room for the share price to spike in the near term.

Aside from Florence, Curis has looked to bulk up in other copper assets, having made several strategic new hires over the past several months, positioning the company for future growth.