Copper producer Hudbay Minerals is looking for potential partners for the development of its Copper World Project in Arizona, US, reported Reuters.

The company has commenced informal discussions with undisclosed potential partners for the copper mine development in an effort to increase the supply of key metals in North America.

Hudbay chief financial officer Eugene Lei was cited by the news agency as saying that the Canadian company is weighing a minority stake divestment or a joint venture to fund the copper project, in the second half of 2024.

Japan-based trading houses, copper majors and gold producers have already expressed interest in the mine, which is due to be developed in phases.

Lei said: “We have been advancing relationships and discussions without officially launching a process.”

Located 28 miles south-east of Tucson, Arizona, in the northern Santa Rita Mountains, the Copper World project is expected to produce 85,000 tonnes of copper a year.

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Hudbay expects the mine to have an operational life of 20 years.

Lei added: “There is very strong interest from Japanese trading houses and smelters for a traditional minority piece, which would allow us to build the project with a lower capital outlay and a strong long-term partner.

He said that the company is looking at “equally strong interest from strategic and gold companies”.

Furthermore, the Copper World mine is expected to create around 400 direct and 3,000 indirect jobs.

Earlier this year, Hudbay Minerals and Marubeni entered a memorandum of understanding for an exploration alliance related to the former’s existing processing facilities in Flin Flon, Manitoba, Canada.