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Curis Resources Says Permitting Plans For Florence Project On Track

Curis Resources (TSE:CUV) said Monday development at its Florence copper project in Arizona remains on track as the company provided a progress update.

The project, which is located in Central Arizona, hosts a measured and indicated resource of 429 million tonnes grading 0.33 percent copper at a cut-off of 0.05 percent.

"We have become aware of misinformation circulating in the public domain relating to the permitting and development of Florence Copper," chief executive Michael McPhie said in a statement.

"This misinformation is leading to confusion about the company's plans to advance its in-situ copper recovery project in Florence."

Last Friday, the company finalized a $40 million loan for its underground copper mining project in Pinal County, with Red Kit Group, an international finance group.

"The development of Florence Copper remains on track. With the closing of a $40 million non-dilutive financing agreement with Red Kite, our focus is now on completing necessary project permitting and preparing for the start of construction for the first phase of project operations," said McPhie.

In the coming weeks, the company said it expects to receive a phase 1 operating permit for its flagship copper project.

"We have developed a strong working relationship with all of the regulatory agencies responsible for reviewing Curis' amended permit applications," said Curis' VP of environment and technical services, Dan Johnson.

"We have appreciated the professional approach and consideration shown for Florence Copper by both the State of Arizona and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and look forward to completing the next phase of project permitting in the weeks and months ahead."

In 1997, previous Florence project owner BHP Copper received all major operating permits necessary for commercial production of copper by in situ recovery methods.

Since acquiring Florence in late 2009, Curis has been working to amend and update these permits. No formal environmental impact assessment (NYSEMKT:EIA) of the project is required, the company said.

On May 2, Curis received comments from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) in connection to its phase 1 production test facility permit.

The company said that it is in the process of addressing these comments and plans to file a response to the ADEQ shortly.

Once the permit is approved, Curis can develop a 24 well injection and recovery system and a state of the art solvent extraction electro-winning plant. The phase 1 production test facility is expected to last 18 months.

"There is a substantial copper resource on the 160-acre State Trust land area that is sufficient to support a commercial scale operation," David Copeland, a director of Curis Resources said in a statement.

"The advancement of the Phase 1 Production Test Facility in the near-term will allow us to optimize key engineering aspects of the project, including enhancing copper recoveries, and will set the stage for the advancement of the project to full-scale commercial operations."

The company also expects to have phase 2 commercial scale operating permit approvals in place well before the start of commercial development in late 2013. It plans to complete the amended phase 2 operating permit in parallel with phase 1 operations.

Meanwhile, the copper explorer was given a review letter by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding its application to amend and update an existing underground injection control permit.

Since then, the company, along with a "highly skilled" consulting team, have provided the agency with answers to its questions. Curis aims to complete this amendment process in the near term.

In addition, Curis holds water rights and groundwater rights to its flagship copper property, which allows the company to utilize groundwater for in-situ copper recovery.

These rights, administered by the Arizona Department of Water Resources, are fully owned by Curis, and are sufficient to support commercial-scale in-situ copper recovery operations, the company said.

"What we're experiencing is the normal back and forth of an agency review of operating permits," said Johnson.

"We appreciate the constructive feedback provided by both EPA and ADEQ and look forward to completing the required permitting for Florence Copper in the near term."

Curis anticipates beginning construction of the phase 1 in-situ copper recovery well field and SX/EW plant in the third quarter, with initial copper cathode production slated for early 2013.

Curis Resources is a diversified mining company focused on advancing its 100 percent owned Florence Copper project to production.

In a statement Monday, the company quoted a letter to the Town of Florence dated December 19, 2011, in which State Land Commissioner Maria Baier confirmed that Florence Copper "has the potential to generate more revenue than any project that the ASLD has been involved with during its almost one hundred years of existence."