NEW YORK Nevada Copper Corp. has received a special-use permit from Lyon County in Nevada, which the company called a "critical milestone" for its planned Pumpkin Hollow underground Mine.
The Lyon County Commission unanimously approved the permit on June 20, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company said June 25.
The company said the receipt of the permit confirms local support for the copper mine and will help state regulators complete their separate review of the project.
The permit, together with the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passage of the Lyon County Economic Development and Conservation Act June 18, will help allow the company "to move forward with a much larger stage two open-pit operation," Nevada Copper president and chief executive officer Giulio Bonifacio said in a statement.
Lyon County Commissioner Virgil Arellano said he welcomed the move and is anxiously awaiting the possible passage of the land bill by the full Senate and the progression of a companion version in the House.
"Our county is desperate and hurting. ... Though the underground project is welcomed, the larger open-pit project is critical and necessary for Lyon County to survive," Arellano said. "We have 52,000 residents looking at Pumpkin Hollow hoping, praying and waiting for passage of the bill. Congress needs to pass this bill."
The Land Bill would convey approximately 10,400 acres of land to the City of Yerington, placing the entire Pumpkin Hollow project under local and Nevada state oversight, according to Nevada Copper.
Combined with the companys 1,500 acres of private land, the bill would provide about 11,900 acres total for mine development, Nevada Copper said.
This would triple the size of the project in terms of capital investment from $330 million to more than $1 billion, more than double the long-term workforce from 430 to more than 900 and increase local property and other tax revenues from between $6 million and $8 million to as much as $20 million per year, the company said.
Pumpkin Hollow, which has an estimated 24 billion pounds of copper reserves, is expected to begin production in 2015 (amm.com, April 5).