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Mines Using Less Water Than Farming

Florence Copper's in-situ copper recovery process (recovering copper "in place") will use considerably less water than would most types of agricultural activities on the same land.

Florence Copper's in-situ copper recovery process (recovering copper "in place") will use considerably less water than would most types of agricultural activities on the same land. Historically, agricultural operations could use up to 4,800 acre-feet of water per year on the Florence Copper property. In contrast, the Florence Copper project will use just one-fourth of that, about 1,200 acre-feet of water per year during full commercial operation.

If the property were developed for mixed residential housing (as it is currently zoned by Florence), it would use more than twice the amount of water that the Florence Copper project would use on the same amount of land. In addition, the water used to extract the copper will be continually recycled and reused.

The advanced technology to be employed at the site is only possible because of the extremely rare hydro-geological conditions there.

Mother Nature has provided shattered bedrock over 400 feet below the ground's surface that is saturated with water, something that you would not see in a typical copper deposit. The water used for the project resides in the deep bedrock layer inaccessible for drinking water or irrigation uses.

The in-situ process uses a solution that is 99.5 percent water and 0.5 percent sulfuric acid. Although the word "acid" may sound scary to some, this water-based solution is essentially similar in strength to common household vinegar.

Nonetheless, this solution will be contained deep within the bedrock, well beyond the capture zones of local drinking water wells. Both the EPA and the ADEQ require that the solution be controlled at all times.

Florence Copper will responsibly recover a mineral that is essential to our modern lifestyles, while providing a $3.4 billion boost to the state's economy over its 25-year production life.

Please keep in mind that currently Florence Copper is only seeking approval for a production test facility. This one- to two-year demonstration project will use just 75 acre-feet of water per year.

We are confident that this test will prove the safety of the in-situ method and its water efficiency. Anyone who would like to learn more about the project is invited to take a site tour.

Source: Azcentral

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