Ivanhoe Electric, which purchased mineral rights to three copper deposits just west of Casa Grande two years ago, has bought 5,975 acres of land above and surrounding the three deposits, giving the British Columbia-based mining firm a complete land and mineral rights package surrounding an estimated 226.7 million tons of copper.
Ivanhoe is paying a total of $117 million over the next 4.5 years, at the end of which it will obtain all mineral and water rights contiguous to the land. It already owns the rights to the Santa Cruz, Texaco and East Ridge deposits that lie underneath the property.
“Acquiring the surface land at our Santa Cruz Project is a significant step toward realizing our vision of developing a high-grade, low carbon dioxide footprint underground copper mine on private land,” said Robert Friedland, executive chairman of Ivanhoe.
He added that the swath of flat land will be ideal for placing solar panels, and renewable solar energy will be used to power the operation.
Ivanhoe President and CEO Taylor Melvin said the land purchase puts the company in excellent position to complete and release its initial economic impact statement, a crucial step in the permitting and approval process, by this fall.
The property was once slated for up to 23,000 homes while it was owned by homebuilder D.R. Horton, until the market crashed in 2008. It’s just south of the Cactus Mine; formerly operated as the Sacaton Mine by ASARCO, which is currently under redevelopment by Arizona Sonoran Copper Company as demand soars due to copper’s role in making electrification, or the shift away from fossil fuels, possible.