Is This Old Copper Spot Becoming New Again?

Can you name the top copper-producing state in America?

If you said Arizona, you’re correct.

This isn’t a state most observers think much about when it comes to mining. But it’s actually a global powerhouse in copper. And might be setting up to become an important destination for new mining projects.

Of late, developing mines here has been difficult. Environmental pressures in the state have made permitting of new projects a tough go. Despite excellent geology.

But there’s a growing movement afoot to change that. Making new mine development more streamlined, and perhaps setting the stage for a renaissance here.

Just yesterday, the ball got rolling in the Arizona House of Representatives. Where the House Commerce Committee hosted a meeting to examine the economic benefits of copper mining in the state.

The event was attended by representatives from mining firms working in Arizona. Including Rosemont, Resolution Copper, ASARCO and Freeport-McMoRan.

The fact that lawmakers are holding such a study is promising. There have been a number of projects in the state that developers have been pushing to restart. After years of being stalled.

That would be good news for Arizona’s copper output. Which has been in decline since hitting a peak of 1.25 million metric tonnes in 1997.

The potential is certainly there for copper development in the state. Even with new projects having been hobbled, Arizona still produced 763,000 metric tonnes of copper in 2012. More than the Congo or Zambia.

We’ll see if hearings like the one yesterday lead to concrete government action in streamlining mining approvals. If so, this could well be an important new destination for major mining companies and junior project developers alike.

Here’s to being in the ‘Zona,

Dave Forest / @piercepoints / Facebook

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