Permitting efforts and baseline data collection at the Copper Flat Mine began in June 2010 and the Company has been focused on permitting the mine for the past several years. In the United States, federal and state laws ensure mine operations are conducted responsibly. The Company is committed to achieving state and federal standards for data collection, regulatory compliance, public involvement and environmental protection. Our stakeholders (the public, community leaders and government officials) are invited at multiple stages to participate in the permitting and evaluation processes of the mine.
The mine property is located on a combination of federal, state and private lands. In order to approve the use of the federal lands and in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the lead federal agency for the NEPA process in coordination with a number of state agencies that regulate mining and protect natural resources.
Several significant environmental studies have been completed on the proposed mine, including:
- Development of the environmental baseline of the mine permit and surrounding areas
- Geochemical characterization of the site’s potential for acid rock drainage and predictive geochemical modeling for the tailing storage facility, waste rock disposal facility and the future pit lake
- Completion of an aquifer pumping test to measure response at other supply wells in area to support development of a groundwater pumping and response model for the Copper Flat water supply wells
- Completion of the Federal Environmental Impact Statement and State Environmental Evaluation
NMCC has acquired several required permits for the Copper Flat Mine, including the BLM Record of Decision on the Final Environmental Impact Statement, U.S. Army Corps of Engineer authorization under the US Clean Water Act, a State Air Quality Permit and a State Groundwater Discharge Permit. Work to obtain a mining permit from the NM Mines and Minerals Division (MMD) is ongoing. The Copper Flat Mine is being permitted as a new mine under Part 6 of the New Mexico Mining Regulations. The NMCC permit application package, which includes construction, operation, reclamation and closure plans, has been submitted to MMD and was determined to be approvable by the Agency in a July 13, 2018 letter to NMCC.