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Ariz. town removes roadblock to Curis copper mine project

Keywords: Tags  Curis Resources, Florence, Rita Maquire, Michael McPhie, copper, sulfuric acid, Environmental Protection Agency, Suzy Waite

NEW YORK — Curis Resources Ltd. is free to focus on starting construction of a copper mine in Florence, Ariz., after town authorities rescinded an ordinance that made the company’s sulfuric-acid-based copper extraction process illegal.

"We would like to acknowledge the decision by the mayor and council of the town of Florence to rescind this ordinance," Rita Maguire, senior legal and government affairs advisor to Curis, said in a statement. "We appreciate the willingness of the town staff and the council to work with company management and representatives to achieve this outcome, and look forward to building on this action in the future around areas of mutual interest."

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Curis will now focus on starting mine construction at Florence, which has estimated reserves of 2.84 billion pounds of copper, according to the company’s website.

The original ordinance called Curis’ sulfuric-acid-based copper extraction process a "nauseous, offensive and unwholesome business" and made it illegal for the company to use large quantities of sulfuric acid.

Curis filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Arizona in October, calling the town’s ordinance unconstitutional (, Oct. 23), claims that Florence later denied (, Nov. 8).

Now that the town has rescinded the ordinance, Curis is waiting for approval from the Environmental Protection Agency for an underground injection control permit.

"We look to this decision as a positive first step towards building a more constructive relationship between Curis and the town of Florence," Michael McPhie, president and chief executive officer of Curis, said. The company remains "committed to an open and transparent dialogue with the residents" and will continue to "invest in the community, provide meaningful employment opportunities ... and contribute to the quality of life."

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