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WQD | Copper World, Inc. | Permit of Interest

Water | Permit of Interest for:

Copper World, Inc.

Posted On: Jan 2, 2023 - 5:00 p.m.

Facility Information

The Copper World Project is located approximately 28 miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona in Pima County and about 12 miles southeast of Sahuarita, Arizona. The Copper World Project will be developed as an open-pit mining operation. Both sulfide and oxide ore will be mined and beneficiated. The project will include a milling and flotation circuit for the processing of sulfide ore along with conventional tailings disposal. A heap leach facility (HLF) is planned that includes a lined heap leach pad (HLP) and associated lined ponds for the leaching of copper from oxide ore. The project also includes a solvent extraction and electrowinning (SX-EW) plant for processing of copper-rich solutions from the heap leach circuit and from a separate copper concentrate leach circuit.

Location

9025 East Santa Rita Road

Sahuarita, Arizona 85629

Water Quality Permitting

On Sep. 21, 2022, ADEQ received an Individual Aquifer Protection Permit Application from Copper World, Inc. Through this application, Copper World, Inc., is seeking permitting coverage for a proposed open-pit copper mine that is projected to be in operation for 15 years.

The purpose and scope of the Aquifer Protection Program (APP) is to ensure that facilities are designed, constructed, and operated in a manner that eliminates or minimizes the impact of the facility’s operation on groundwater quality through operation, closure, and post-closure.  The draft permit includes sections that have reference citations to rules and statutes that our applicants and permittees are required to comply with. In many instances, these citations may be beneficial to review to understand how our authorities provide a framework for protecting human health and the environment concerning groundwater quality. 

Current Public Notice

The public is welcome to provide comments on the draft permit which we will formally respond to.  

While we encourage the submission of all comments, please be aware that the scope of the program’s authority relative to this permit is limited to the statutes and rules established to protect groundwater quality and include but may not be limited to:

  • ARS 49-201  Definitions | View >
  • ARS 49-241  Permit required to discharge | View >
  • ARS 49-243  Information and criteria for issuing individual permit; definition | View >
  • AAC 18-19-A201 Individual Permit Application | View >

Some authorities that we may not have the legal ability to address through the Aquifer Protection Program include but are not limited to the following:

  • National Environmental Policy Act review (NEPA), Environmental Impact Assessments, and Environmental Impact Studies (US Federal, on federal lands)
  • Tailings Dam Safety, downstream physical hazards that may cause loss of life and property in the event of a potential loss of tailings containment failure (unregulated in Arizona; the 1997 state legislature decision specifically excluded “mine tailings dams” from Arizona Department of Water Resources jurisdiction under the Dam Safety Program)
  • Climate change, unless indirectly relevant to Statutory or Rule provisions

Other state agencies involved in this project:

  • Arizona Game and Fish (wildlife including migratory or local bird species) | Learn More >
  • Arizona Department of Water Resources (groundwater quantity) | Learn More >

Aquifer Protection Permit Application Documents

  • Initial Application Permit Application | View >
  • Comprehensive Request for Additional Information | View >
    • Copper World Inc. Response Letter | View >
  • All Attachments | View >
    • Inadequate Response to a Comprehensive Request for Additional Information | View >
  • Copper World Inc. Response Letter | View >
  • Follow-Up Correspondence to Inadequate Response to a Comprehensive Request for Additional Information | View >
    • Copper World Inc. Response Letter | View >
    • All Attachments | View >
  • Permit Release for Rosemont Copper Company | View >

Looking for air permits related to this site? 

Copper World, Inc. also has Air Permits issued by ADEQ related to this site | View Air Permits >