The historic Sacaton Mine near Casa Grande has a new owner, a new name and a new plan.
“Reviving the Casa Grande copper mining district of Arizona,” is the stated purpose on the Elim Mining Incorporated website.
Elim’s first effort was to acquire the Sacaton Mine from the American Smelting and Refining Company (ANSARCO) and rename it Cactus Mine.
“This purchase is the first step in a process that will bring high-paying jobs, create economic opportunities, and put an otherwise abandoned site to use, while showcasing state-of-the-art environmental stewardship and reclamation practices,” reports the Financial Post.
The Cactus Mine (formerly Sacaton) was originally discovered in the 1960’s by ANSARCO, and operated from 1972-1984, employing 400 people. Eventually the mine shut down due to economic reasons. Currently, the Cactus Mine spans a diameter of 3,000 feet and is 980 feet deep.
Fast forward thirty years from the closure, and now copper is in high demand.
Long-term trends are driving growth in copper demand, and they all require significant quantities of copper:
- Consumer use of electronics
- Increased use of electric vehicles
- Increased use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency
Copper Alliance predicts, “…we could see a ten-fold rise in demand for metals, including copper by 2050 as the world moves toward a low carbon energy future.”
The Freedonia Group expects world demand to rise by 4.2% just this year. “Advances in construction spending are also projected to fuel copper demand in North America, particularly in the US, where building construction activity will significantly accelerate…”
Elim Mining thinks a revitalized Cactus Mine, near Casa Grande and about 50 miles southeast of Phoenix, could be part of the answer, even while contributing to the local economy and protecting the environment with state-of-the-art practices.
“Today, with the demand for copper increasing led by the exponentially growing renewable market, Elim is confident in the opportunity to restart production at Cactus, immediately to the north-east of the open pit, and along the Santa Cruz trend,” the company states on its website.
Elim doesn’t plan to simply pick up where ANSARCO left off, however, as they state, “We are a company of engineers, geologists, and archaeologists. We are passionate about the restoration of this historic site. Our team believes in the creation of a sustainable operation that will leave a legacy of benefits to the community.”
“Our commitment to water and the environment informs every decision we make.”
John Antwi, President and CEO of Elim Mining, brings 30 years of mining experience to the startup company. “People are the most important resource to Elim and we are thrilled to be joining the people of Pinal County to revitalize this historic site. Our company endeavors to focus on three things: economic development, environmental protection, and community partnerships. While ensuring a thriving surrounding community, another top priority will always be the health and safety of all employees and contractors; this focus is what we call the ‘Elim Way’.”
“I am excited about the potential this site has for the area, including industry-leading best practices on water protection and conservation. The Cactus Mine will be a real 360-degree opportunity for the community. It will create high-paying jobs and tax revenue for schools, roads, and the community, all while showcasing leading practices in environmental stewardship. We look forward to a long and enduring partnership with the community,” said Ian McMullan, Elim’s Chief Operating Officer.
Primarily, Elim hopes to extract copper from the mine, but they also expect to tap into smaller deposits of gold, silver and molybdenum, which is used to strengthen steel and other metals.
In addition to the Cactus Mine, Elim Mining also purchased the Parks/Salyer property. Their research indicates that there could be potential for up to 4 billion pounds of copper in the Parks/Salyer property. At this point, they have not yet begun the permitting activity.
Elim plans to hold several public open houses as they proceed. They are currently exploring the mine site in order to assess the needed equipment and number of employees for the operation before choosing the date to reopen the mine.
Members of the public are welcome to contact the company about the Cactus Mine on the Community Hotline at (520) 858-0600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.