Opinion Editorial - Project Status UpdatePosted: 04/08/2016 | Posted By: News Resource/Publisher
Copper Flat Mine – Project Update – Opinion Editorial
It has been a long standing goal for New Mexico Copper Corporation (NMCC) to always be open and transparent with the Sierra
County community. Over the past several years, Sierra County has been an active participant in the process of bringing the Copper Flat Mine closer to opening its doors. Most recently, with the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), Sierra County residents and others across the state and beyond have submitted their comments to the BLM. The comment period spanned over four months and officially ended on April 4th, 2016.
It goes without saying; the success of the Copper Flat Mine is a direct reflection of the support it receives from the community. NMCC continues to be overwhelmed by the staunch support of Sierra County and its residents. For that, we extend our most sincere appreciation and thanks. We wanted to take this opportunity to provide an update on the Project’s status within the context of overall permitting, project development, and a general timeline of when the mine can expect to become operational.
With the conclusion of the DEIS public comment period, the BLM and the third party contractor will spend some time reviewing
and developing responses to the comments submitted and further revise the EIS. Following the development of responses to comments, a Preliminary Final EIS will be prepared and will enter into another multi-layered internal BLM review process. Subsequently, an Administrative Final EIS will be compiled and reviewed once again by BLM staff as well as State agencies. Once the BLM has developed the Final EIS, a Notice of Availability (NOA) & Press Release are then prepared and the Final EIS is sent to print. The Final EIS will include all of the BLM’s responses to public comment. In the Draft EIS the BLM identified Alternative 2 as the Preferred Alternative and NMCC supports this decision. Once the NOA and Final EIS are released there will be a thirty day
protest period followed by the Draft and Final Record of Decision (ROD) announcing BLM’s final decision regarding the proposed operation. If all steps move forward with no significant interruptions, it is reasonable to expect a ROD by the end of the 2016 or early 2017.
Alongside the federal EIS process, NMCC continues to advance work on the state permits. NMCC has initiated the Discharge Permit application and expects to receive the permit during the same timeframe the EIS ROD is received. Furthermore, the New Mine Permit is expected to be received six months following the EIS and Discharge Permit. The goal is to have acquired all necessary permits by mid-2017 and complete all necessary engineering designs by the end of 2017 to begin construction. Construction will be an 18-24 month process, which will place operations to commence in late 2019.
It is no secret that the mining sector – more specifically copper – is experiencing a downturn in demand given the current state of the global economy. This has naturally resulted in a decrease in copper prices, which raises a number of concerns regarding the continued feasibility of the project. It is important to note that historically, copper prices have always experienced high and low cycles. We, among many other analysts as well as copper producers, believe in the long term value of copper. Professionals in the
fields of market analysis and forecast project copper prices to begin rebounding within the next three to five years. We believe this would place Copper Flat in a unique position to enter the market during an upward trajectory in copper prices.
NMCC is firmly committed to developing and operating the Copper Flat Mine. With the help and support of the Sierra County community we are a step closer to achieving this goal. We hope to become a positive force in boosting Sierra County’s economic growth by creating high paying jobs and generating tax revenues. We look forward to being good neighbors by supporting educational programs and students, sponsoring social and charitable causes, and practicing high standards of safety and environmental responsibility.
Jeffrey Smith Chief Operative Officer
New Mexico Copper Corporation