The Copper We Need. Made in Arizona.
The Copper World Project is a proposed open pit copper mine located 28 miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona in the northern Santa Rita Mountains. The project is planned to be a traditional open pit shovel and truck operation with a conventional flotation concentrator producing copper and molybdenum concentrate, with a planned expansion of the processing facility in year 5 to produce copper cathode and silver/gold doré.
In 2023, Hudbay released a Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS) for Copper World marking a significant milestone for the project. The PFS outlines our two-phased approach to not only responsibly extract minerals, but also produce finished copper on-site. Phase I is a standalone operation requiring only state and local permits for a 20-year mine life. It is anticipated that Copper World will produce an average of 85,000 metric tons of copper per year during Phase I. Phase II would expand the operation onto federal land, requiring Hudbay to obtain federal permits and will extend the mine life well beyond 20 years.
Through producing finished copper on-site, Copper World will support a stronger domestic supply of the copper we need to realize our green energy future. It also allows us to reduce our impact on the environment by eliminating emissions caused by shipping unfinished copper overseas for processing.
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Copper Made in Arizona
One of the most exciting parts of Copper World is the ability to produce finished copper on-site, which is expected to be sold to domestic U.S. customers. On-site copper production is planned to begin in year 5 of Copper World’s operation. The project will begin with a 60,000 ton per day sulfide concentrator producing copper concentrate. In year 5, Copper World will add a concentrate leach facility, and a solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX/EW) plant to begin producing finished copper cathode on-site.
“Made in America” copper cathode produced at Copper World is expected to be sold entirely to U.S. customers. Copper World is one of the highest-grade open pit copper projects in the Americas, and anticipated to be the third largest domestic copper cathode producer in the United States once in production. Producing copper on-site will also help reduce emissions by eliminating unnecessary ocean transportation of concentrate for processing overseas.
A Private Land Project
Phase I of Copper World is planned entirely on private land owned by Hudbay. Private property owners have a constitutional right to use and develop their property, subject to reasonable regulation by the government.
Because it is on private land, Copper World will need to obtain permits from state and local agencies, placing the review and approval of operations with local decision makers from the Copper State, who understand the importance of mining to our region.
Hubday began the permitting process in 2021 with the submission of our Mined Land Reclamation Plan (MLRP), which was approved by the State Mine Inspector in October of 2021. In late 2022, Hudbay submitted applications for an Aquifer Protection Permit and an Air Quality Permit to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), and expects to receive these two outstanding state permits in mid-2024.
The state’s permitting process includes the opportunity for members of the public to review the data and information, ask questions and provide comments to regulators prior to the issuance of the permits. Once issued, the permits will include monitoring and reporting requirements to ensure that the mine meets air and water quality standards.
Copper for America
In 2022 the United States had to import 41% of the copper we used. Relying on foreign countries, especially those with questionable labor and environmental regulations, to supply the minerals we need is unsustainable and irresponsible.
Copper World will supply the copper that we use every day and will be needed to power our green energy future. By selling finished copper exclusively to customers in the United States, Copper World will help ensure a strong domestic supply of the copper we need to meet our growing demand. American consumers aspire to use responsibly sourced materials ranging from diamonds, to sneakers and coffee. It should be no different for copper and the products made from copper that are essential for almost every aspect of our modern, connected lifestyle.
Reduced Carbon Footprint and Water Usage
Producing copper cathode reduces the operation’s total energy requirements, and greenhouse gas (“GHG”) and sulfur (SO2) emissions by eliminating overseas shipping, smelting and refining activities associated with a typical copper concentrate operation.
There are several other emission reduction opportunities, including the potential to source renewable energy from local providers, the use of autonomous or electric haul trucks at the operation and various post-reclamation land uses such as domestic renewable energy production.
Copper World also has the potential, through land acquisition, to reduce water usage through the development of a dry stack tailings facility during Phase I.
From solar panels to electric vehicles—copper is a key element in de-carbonization efforts and the shift to renewable energy sources. Hudbay will support America's transition to a cleaner future, by providing the copper we need to build the innovative products and technologies that will power our new sustainable future.
Local Economic and Social Benefits
Copper World is expected to generate significant benefits for the community and local economy in Arizona. Hudbay will invest $1.7 billion to construct Phase I of Copper World, beginning with more than $1.3 billion for the initial construction, with an additional $367 million investment in year 4 for the planned expansion of the production facility to make finished copper on-site.
Over the 20-year life of Phase I, Hudbay expects to contribute more than $850 million in U.S. taxes, including approximately $170 million in taxes to the state of Arizona and $250 million in property taxes. Hudbay also expects Copper World to create more than 400 direct jobs and up to 3,000 indirect jobs in Arizona.
Modern mining begins with the end in mind. For Copper World, that means planning for the closure and reclamation of the land will be one of the first steps in developing the mine.
Hudbay submitted and received approval from the Arizona State Mine Inspector for our initial reclamation plan for Copper World. The state has required Hudbay to post a bond for the full cost of the reclamation. Bonding ensures that the funds will be available for reclamation regardless of the financial resources of Hudbay or a subsequent owner at the time reclamation needs to begin.