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FAQ: Welcome

1. Where is the Copper World Complex located?

Copper World is located approximately 28 miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona in the northern Santa Rita Mountains. The project is located in the historic Helvetia mining district, one of Arizona’s largest and most important mining camps around the turn of the twentieth century. 

2. How will the project be developed in two phases?

The Copper World Project will be developed in two phases beginning with operations on approximately 4,500 acres of private land owned by Hudbay. Phase I is a standalone operation requiring only state and local permits for a 20-year mine life and will cost $1.7 billion to construct. Phase II would expand the operation onto federal land and will extend the mine life well beyond 20 years.

3. How much water will be needed to operate the mine?

Hudbay understands the importance of managing Arizona’s precious water resources. It’s why we have taken the time to create a smart and responsible plan to manage our water use at Copper World.


Our goal for Copper World is to be a net neutral water user by recharging 100% of the water we pump from the aquifer during production. We will do this by purchasing water from the Central Arizona Project (CAP) and allowing it to soak into shallow groundwater aquifers from recharge ponds. Hudbay has already stored enough water for 8 years of operations and will continue these recharge efforts going forward. In the future, recharge in the Green Valley and Sahuartia area will be accomplished through Project Renews, our joint venture with the Community Water Company of Green Valley.


Copper World has a permit from the Arizona Department of Water Resources to pump up to 6,000 acre feet of water from the aquifer each year. The amount of groundwater that we will need to pump each year is currently estimated at 5,100 acre feet, within the limits of our existing permit.

4. Are Arizona’s environmental regulations for mining as robust as the Federal agencies? 

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), who is responsible for reviewing and issuing the air and water quality permits for Phase I of Copper World, has a long-history and strong track record of reviewing mine permit applications in Arizona. All federal standards for air and water quality apply to permits issued by ADEQ.  In addition, Arizona has programs based on state law that are specific to Arizona.


As part of the review process, the public will have a chance to see and comment on the environmental analysis that is being conducted and ADEQ will review and respond to questions and comments.

6. How will you produce copper on-site?

The mineralization at Copper World will allow for the production of finished copper on-site that will be sold entirely to domestic customers. On-site copper production is expected to begin in year 5 of operations. Copper World will add a concentrate leach facility, and a solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX/EW) plant to produce finished copper cathode on-site.


Once in operation, Copper World is expected to be the third largest domestic copper cathode producer in the United States. Phase I currently has  proven and probable mineral reserves of 385 million metric tons at 0.54% copper.


“Made in America” copper cathode produced at Copper World is expected to be sold to U.S. customers to use in the products and technologies that enable our modern connected lives.

5. What measures are in place to ensure Hudbay pays for reclamation?

A Mined Land Reclamation Plan (MLRP) is a plan for how a mine site will be reclaimed after operations cease. It must be approved by the Arizona State Mine Inspector and bonding must be provided to cover the costs of the reclamation before ground disturbance can begin. This is legally required in Arizona and an example of how responsible mining is done.


Submitting our site layout, reclamation approach, and estimated reclamation costs to the state for bonding was one of the first steps taken to advance the Copper World Project. An initial MLRP was approved in October 2021.The MLRP will be updated as needed as we continue to advance the project.

7. What are you doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the project?

Producing copper cathode on-site 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.


It is estimated that Copper World will reduce total energy consumption by more than 10% when compared to a project that produces copper concentrates for overseas smelting and refining.


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. 


8. How many jobs will the Copper World project create?

9. Will Hudbay be required to pay taxes?

Copper World is expected to create more than 400 direct jobs and up to 3,000 indirect jobs in Arizona. Copper World will offer average wages of $90,000 per year plus benefits, compared to an average of $52,906 in the State of Arizona..

Hudbay will invest more than $1.3 billion to construct Phase I of Copper World, plus an additional $367 million in year 4 for a planned expansion of the processing facility to produce copper cathode. Over the anticipated 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.

10. Does Hudbay have the private land it needs to build the project?

Yes, Hudbay has a private land position of over 4,500 acres, sufficient to develop Phase I of Copper World. The project will require the construction of three tailings storage facilities and provide storage for 385 million tons, enough for 20 years of operations on land requiring only state and local permits.

11. What permits are required for the Copper World Complex?

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. Phase II would be subject to a subsequent federal permitting process.

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