Taseko Building Test Facility at Florence Copper

A well recovers copper at the Florence project.
Taseko Mines is proceeding with construction of a production test facility (PTF) at its Florence in-situ copper recovery project in south-central Arizona. The go-ahead for the PTF followed final project permitting approval by the Environmental Protection Agency. Estimated remaining costs to construct the PTF stand at $25 million.

As outlined on the project website, the PTF will be based on 24 wells: four injection wells, nine recovery wells and 11 groundwater monitoring-related wells. Among other objectives, the facility is expected to demonstrate to residents and regulatory agencies that in-situ copper recovery is a safe and proven process and to demonstrate and enhance best water management practices to maximize efficient water use and optimize new treatment technologies employed at the site. The facility will also further test and refine the in-situ recovery method.

“We now have all necessary state and federal permits in place to build and operate the PTF,” said Taseko President and CEO Russell Hallbauer. “Our board of directors, after a thorough review of current market conditions, the company’s financial position, and the status of permitting in Arizona, have endorsed management’s view that the best course of action is to accelerate the construction of the facility.

“Over the past year, Florence personnel have been advancing on-the-ground activities and have spent roughly $4 million specific to the PTF. With major components already on site, the timeline to having the test facility operational is in the latter half of 2018 and involves the construction of an SX/EW facility and the drilling of observation, injection and recovery wells.

“At $4,700/mt of installed capacity, Florence Copper is one of the lowest capital intensity copper projects in the world. The economics of the project are too compelling for us to not be rapidly advancing the project toward commercial production, especially as a significant global copper deficit approaches. Successful operation of the PTF will be a major step toward realizing the $920 million net present value of the project.”

At full production, the Florence copper project is forecast to produce 81 million lb/y of copper over a 21-year operating life. Total preproduction capital costs are estimated at $200 million.

As featured in Womp 2017 Vol 11 - www.womp-int.com