Copper mine set to open in Cochise County

Copper remains a huge driver of Arizona’s economy. In fact, on a broader scale, Arizona makes up about 68 percent of the entire country’s copper production. This is due to a group of successful mines around the state that are figurative goldmines in terms of economic boons. Now, another copper mine is set to open in Cochise County.

Excelsior Mining, based in Canada, recently closed a $75 million financing package to fund the development of its Gunnison copper mining project near the Tucson area. The package, which features a partnership with Triple Flag Mining Finance Bermuda, includes a $65 million long-term investment for the purchase and sale of copper and another $10 million private placement of common shares of Excelsior. Construction activities are expected to kick off almost immediately and mining should begin by late next year.

On the job front, the mining industry is still seeing strong numbers when it comes to job creation. While growth hasn’t been exponential, there’s still steady job growth in mining, construction and wholesale trade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mine in Cochise County will help to fuel job creation and is set to bring in another $9.4 million-worth of financing.

November mining job growth totals for the country came in at 155,000, slightly less than the projected 200,000. Still, the buoyant mining market is a highlight of good news for companies looking to expand on their mining projects.

“The mines have provided not only quality of life, but great job opportunities, and to say it’s not important is a gross inaccuracy,” says Steve Trussell, Executive Director of the Arizona Mining Association.

Trussell notes that major concerns from those opposing copper mining or copper mining expansion fall under the focus on green living. But without copper, any kind of living, be it green or otherwise, would not be possible in our tech-heavy lifestyles.

“As far as the environment goes, there is a very long arduous list of things we have to comply with when it comes to environmentalism,” says Trussell. “Think about the innovations people love to enjoy and the materials needed to compete on a global level: cell phones, cars, housing, etc. We want to provide what people love to use.”

The new mine in Cochise is projected to begin producing copper extract toward the end of next year.

Nick Esquer

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