Florence Copper will be one of the world’s most efficient copper producers
August 22, 2022
Taseko’s Florence Copper Project in central Arizona is expected to be the
next producing copper mine in the United States, utilizing a unique ‘in-situ copper recovery’ (ISCR) technology to produce pure copper cathode
Environmental Advantages of In-situ Copper Recovery (ISCR)
Florence Copper is not a typical mining operation. There is no blasting or excavation equipment, no
open-pits, underground tunnels or large haul trucks, no smelters, and very little land disturbance.
Once operational, it will be one of the world’s greenest copper producers – with water, energy and
carbon intensity forecast to be 93%, 71% and 83% lower (respectively) than conventional mines per
unit of production.
In-situ Copper Recovery
ISCR is a low impact mining method that uses a
water-based acidic solution to dissolve copper
minerals and extract them from deep underground
without significant surface disturbance. The
solution (>99.5% water/<0.5% acid), similar in pH
to household vinegar, is injected into a soluble
copper oxide deposit 400 feet to 1,200 feet below
ground. The solution dissolves the copper minerals
and the resulting copper-rich solution is pumped to
surface where it is manufactured into pure copper
sheets in an on-site SX/EW plant.
The ISCR mining method is possible because of
the unique characteristics of the Florence copper
deposit. ISCR requires both specific hydrogeological
conditions that happen to occur at Florence, as
well as a naturally porous and shattered orebody,
which allows the solution to easily flow through it
without the use of pressure.
Highly Coveted Product
Florence Copper will produce a highly coveted
product – ‘made in the USA’ refined copper. It
will not be blended with other products at a
smelter, so the refined copper will be traceable
directly to the Florence site, which will also
have one of the lowest GHG and energy
profiles in the world.
Taseko successfully operated an 18-month
Production Test Facility (PTF) at the Florence
Copper Project beginning in 2019. The next
step is commercial operation. Florence Copper
has received a final operating permit from the
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
(ADEQ), in addition to the Draft Underground Injection Control (UCI) Permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Draft UCI is currently in the Public Comment period, which is scheduled to be completed on September 29.
Back to the Taseko Talks Index page