After receiving big news from the Grand Canyon State, Taseko Mines (TGB 1.29%) is a major step closer in developing the Florence Copper Project in central Arizona. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a key draft permit that brings the company closer to starting construction of the project.
As of 12:03 p.m. ET on Monday, shares of Taseko Mines are up 9.1%, having retreated from their earlier rise of 14.5%.
By issuing a draft Underground Injection Control (UIC) permit for the Florence Copper Project, the EPA has begun a 45-day public comment period, and it will hold a public hearing on Sept. 15. According to Taseko's CEO, Stuart McDonald, "The UIC permit is the final key permit required for the construction and operation of the Florence Copper commercial facility."
Taseko estimates that once it's operational, Florence, in which Taseko retains 100% ownership, will have a 21-year mine life and achieve annual copper production capacity of 85 million pounds. That's no small amount considering the company reported copper production of 112 million pounds in 2021.
Taseko estimates it will begin construction of Florence's commercial production facility after it receives the final UIC permit in 2022, followed by the start of commercial production in 2023.
Successful development of the Florence project is a major step for Taseko considering the only other operating copper asset in its portfolio is the Gibraltar project in British Columbia. Once operational, the Florence project will not only greatly increase the company's copper production, but it also will mitigate the company's risk of challenges arising at Gibraltar.