Curis Resources (TSE:CUV) announced on Friday the voluntary withdrawal of its requests to amend the Town of Florence General Plan and rezone a portion of its property, with regards to its Florence copper project in Arizona.
However, Curis said it continues to pursue the completion of state and federal permit amendments required to advance Florence towards full development.
This process is in the final phase, which includes a 30-day public comment period that is anticipated to be initiated by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the near term, the company added.
Curis noted that in withdrawing its amendment request for the Town's General Plan, it would focus on finalizing the environmental permit amendments early in 2012, planning to re-engage in these discussions with the Mayor, Town Council and Town staff.
"The completion of this process and amendment of the permits will give the Town of Florence and all stakeholders greater confidence on environmental and technical matters and the opportunity to focus their attention on matters relating to land use,” the company said in a statement.
A number of the permits required for the development and operation of Florence Copper are already in place, including water use approvals from the Arizona Dept. of Water Resources (ADWR) and air quality permits from Pinal County.
As such, the permit amendments from ADEQ and EPA represent the final step in the overall environmental approvals required for the development and operation of Florence Copper.
Vice president of project development, Mel Lawson, added: “Our primary goal has been upon receipt of our updated environmental operating permits, we would move forward with Florence Copper operations.”
"Nothing with respect to our overall project development timeline has changed as a result of today's announcement."
About one-half of the recoverable oxide copper contained in the 429 million tonne resource hosted at Florence rests beneath a 160 acre block of state land. Curis holds the rights to recover and process minerals under a mineral lease from the state on this land parcel.
The company said it intends to complete its feasibility study and initiate operations using in-situ copper recovery technologies next year, starting with phase one production test and ramping up to commercial production by 2014.