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Thursday, 1 November 2012
Curis Resources draws second tranche of loan for phase 1 operations at Florence copper project in Arizona, PFS on track
Curis Resources (TSE:CUV) says it has received an early release of the second tranche of funding from its US$40 million senior secured loan facility from RK Mine Finance Trust (Red Kite).
This came after the company got its Arizona Aquifer Protection Permit for its phase 1 operations at its Florence copper project in Arizona.
The funding will be used for the purchase of copper processing equipment and to finance infrastructure and site improvement activities.
The permit the company received in late September authorizes the construction, operation and closure of a 24-well in-situ copper recovery operation - phase 1 - at the project in Florence, Arizona.
The recovery operation will be accompanied by an art solvent extraction/electrowinning facility that is designed to produce 99.999% pure copper cathode sheets.
The in-situ recovery process requires no movement of rock or overburden, and there is therefore a substantially smaller footprint, with much less of an environmental impact on the surrounding area than with more traditional open pit mining operations.
The technique also requires substantially less mechanical energy in the form of trucks and explosives, and therefore generates significantly lower operating and capital costs.
According to the latest timeline, the company could begin full commercial production by early 2015, after which it expects to produce between 55 and 84 million pounds of copper per year.
"Phase 1 development of the Florence Copper project is fully funded with the support of Red Kite," said Curis president and CEO Michael McPhie.
"With the receipt of the key State of Arizona operating permit in September and the second tranche of funding from Red Kite now in place, we can complete our purchase of copper processing equipment and initiate infrastructure and site improvement activities."
In May, Curis inked a US$40 million senior secured bridge loan facility and copper cathode off-take agreement with Red Kite. When the deal was signed, it drew down US$16.2 million, and recently drew down another US$6 million following the receipt of the key permit.
Last month, the Vancouver-based miner unveiled updated metallurgical results on samples from its Florence copper property, showing an average copper extraction rate of 61 per cent - higher than the rate used in prior modelling.
The company said that 16 in-situ recovery tests were done, with copper extraction ranging from 33 to 89 per cent.
"A significant amount is being invested locally in the town of Florence and in Pinal County, Arizona, providing the opportunity for new jobs, and further reinforcing Florence Copper's positive impact on the local economy," concluded McPhie.
Feasibility level optimization and design studies for Florence are progressing, with a prefeasibility study slated for release in the fourth quarter.
Site and infrastructure improvements in support of phase 1 operations have now begun, the company said.