ADEQ issues aquifer permit to Florence mine

ADEQ (Arizona Department of Environmental Quality) officials announced Friday that a temporary individual aquifer protection permit (APP) has been issued to Curis Resources for discharges associated with a proposed mining operation in Florence.

ADEQ received the application for a temporary APP from Curis in March 2012. Curis applied for authorization for a pilot project to inject solutions into copper bearing zones beneath the ground surface that would then be extracted and processed to recover copper. Monitoring of the injected solutions will be required to ensure adjacent groundwater resources are protected. Data from the pilot project authorized by the APP is expected to be used by Curis to develop an APP application for a full-scale project.

The temporary APP is effective for one year and may be renewed for one additional year. However, the temporary permit will not become effective until completion of a public notice and comment period, a public hearing, and resolution of appeals. The issuance of other permits will be required for the mining operation to begin, including an underground injection control permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The permit will require Curis to meet aquifer water quality standards at identified point of compliance groundwater monitoring wells and to use the best available demonstrated control technology to reduce discharges of pollutants to groundwater to the greatest degree achievable.

“We have worked diligently to insure that this permit meets all environmental protection requirements while addressing the many concerns expressed during community discussions of this facility,” said ADEQ Director Henry Darwin. “This temporary permit for the pilot project and the data it will produce will allow ADEQ and the public to make a more informed decision about a potential full-scale project.”

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