VANCOUVER, April 12 /PRNewswire/ - Curis Resources Ltd. (TSXV: CUV) announces that it has awarded Tucson, Arizona-based M3 Engineering a contract to conduct a feasibility-level study on final design, engineering, capital and operating costs for the Florence Copper Project.
As a world class copper process design engineering company, M3 Engineering is well positioned to lead the Florence Copper Project's feasibility study. Their over 25-years of experience and expertise in architecture, engineering and construction management is in line with other consultants and experts retained by Curis Resources. M3 won the prestigious 2005 AISC Engineering Award for Excellence in the $10 million to $25 million category.
"We are very pleased to have M3 join the Florence Copper Project. Their extensive knowledge and experience in the industry combined with their background in copper recovery projects will be of great benefit," said Michael McPhie, President and CEO of Curis Resources Ltd. "All companies in competition for this contract were from Arizona and retaining M3 supports the company's Local Procurement Policy, as well as continuing to build our world-class engineering team responsible for the near term development of the Florence Copper Project."
As an integral part of the Florence Copper Project's feasibility study, M3 Engineering will be working with other contractors to complete trade-off studies, complete engineering designs, and to establish detailed capital and operating costs required to develop and operate the Project over the anticipated 19-year operating life.
Curis completed a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) on the Florence Copper Project in September 2010. A copy of that report is available on the company's web site at www.curisresources.com. "The PEA clearly indicated that the Florence Project is an extremely attractive copper project with robust economics and a sound development plan," commented McPhie. "It is our objective to continue to de-risk the project by taking the engineering to the next level. Moving ahead immediately to a feasibility level assessment such as this with the M3 team is an important step in maintaining the overall schedule for project development."
Specifically, the work of M3 will look at completing engineering documents, undertaking feasibility level estimates for both capital and operating costs to a +/- 15 percent threshold. In addition to the work of M3, the Company has also retained the Phoenix, AZ office of Brown and Caldwell to undertake a review of the overall copper extraction plan and Knight Piesold Consulting Engineers of Tucson, AZ/Vancouver, BC to complete project geotechnical, water treatment and water impoundment designs.
i. Project Permitting
On January 31, 2011 Curis submitted a comprehensive application to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to amend the Company's existing Aquifer Protection Permit (APP) for the Florence Copper Project. The submission of this application formally began the ADEQ amendment review process. The submitted application cleared the first stage of consideration in mid-March by satisfying an "Administrative Completeness Review". The application is now proceeding through a detailed technical review. Once completed, ADEQ will issue draft permit conditions and solicit public input on these.
The other major operating permit required for the Florence Copper Project is an Underground Injection Control (UIC) Permit that is issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As with the APP, the UIC permit for the full commercial operation of the Florence Copper Project was granted to former owner BHP Copper Inc. in 1998 after their successful completion of an in-situ recovery production test at the site. Curis has now applied for the amendment and re-issuance of the UIC for the Florence Project. All required documentation for a review of the UIC permit for the project was submitted to the EPA on March 25, 2011 and are now under review.
Curis is also working with the Town of Florence on a revision to the Town's General Plan and the re-zoning of a portion of the Company's 1,342 acre property to support the in-situ recovery and processing of copper. Discussions with the Town of Florence planning staff and management have been ongoing in this regard for the past several months and are proceeding well. The Company will submit an application to amend the General Plan in mid-May and approval, following consideration by the Planning and Zoning Commission and Florence Town Council, is anticipated in November of this year.
"The process for amending and re-issuing of existing operating permits for the Florence Copper Project is advancing as originally anticipated," said Curis President & CEO Michael McPhie. "Our goal now is to continue to work with ADEQ, EPA, the Town of Florence and the other relevant government agencies to advance a timely review of the Florence Copper Project's proposed development plans."
ii. Preparing for Phase 1 Production Test
Following the successful completion of project permitting and approvals that is anticipated in the fourth quarter of this year, it is the Company's intention to immediately begin development of a 12 - 14 month Production Test at the project site. Work has already begun on sourcing a suitable pilot scale Solvent Extraction/Electrowinning (SX/EW) plant and preparing detailed engineering plans and cost estimates for this phase of the project.
"Plans are on track to begin the development of the first phase of the Florence Copper Project by the end of this year," McPhie commented. "The intent is to begin producing pure copper cathode at Florence in mid-2012 and to use the production test to optimize and refine project engineering to support the development of the full commercial scale facility."
iii. Community Outreach
Coincident with work to advance permitting for the Florence Copper Project, the Company continues to implement a comprehensive community engagement and stakeholder outreach program in Central Arizona. Curis acknowledges the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships with the Town of Florence, local landowners and other project stakeholders.
On April 4, 2011 the Company held a Project Open House in the Anthem neighborhood of Florence. Approximately 230 people attended the open house which included presentations by company staff and consultants as well as the presentation of poster boards and information material that described the project, in-situ recovery technology, environmental protection measures being employed by the company and the economic opportunities associated with the development of the Florence Copper Project.
In addition to these open houses, the Company has a community office in downtown Florence, hosts regular site tours of the Florence Copper Project facilities, operates a Visitors Centre on site that allows interested citizens of Florence and surrounding communities to learn more about the project, and maintains an up-to-date website for project news, information and events at www.florencecopperproject.com. Curis also has a strong community affairs presence and participates in and supporting a number of community-oriented organizations.
"The Florence Copper Project is a multi-generational development and we want to be seen by the local community as being a positive contributor to the quality of life of the residents who live here," McPhie said. "We take our responsibility for stewardship of the environment seriously, and believe the significant economic opportunities associated with the development of this project have the potential to provide meaningful benefits to the Town of Florence and the State of Arizona for generations."
For more information about the Florence Copper Project and its projected economic impacts and benefits to the local community, please go to www.florencecopperproject.com.
Curis Resources Ltd. is a mineral development company, the major shareholder of which is Hunter Dickinson Inc. Curis is focused on the acquisition, development and operation of high-quality next-generation copper properties in progressive jurisdictions around the world. It is currently focused on advancing its 100% owned Florence Project in Arizona USA to production.
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Hunter Dickinson Inc. (HDI) is a diversified global mining company with a 25-year history of mineral development success. From its head office in Vancouver, Canada, HDI applies its unique strengths and capabilities to acquire, develop, operate and monetize mineral properties that provide consistently superior returns to shareholders.
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This release includes certain statements that may be deemed "forward-looking statements". All statements in this release, other than statements of historical facts, that address exploration drilling, exploitation activities and events or developments that the company expects are forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include market prices, exploitation and exploration successes, continuity of mineralization, uncertainties related to the ability to obtain necessary permits, licenses and title and delays due to third party opposition, changes in government policies regarding mining and natural resource exploration and exploitation, and continued availability of capital and financing, and general economic, market or business conditions. Investors are cautioned that any such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. For more information on the Company, investors should review the Company's continuous disclosure filings that are available at www.sedar.com.
SOURCE Curis Resources Inc.