Hudbay Minerals has received approval for its Mine Plan of Operations (MPO) from the US Forest Service for the Rosemont project located in Arizona.

Rosemont is expected to deliver a 15.5% after-tax unlevered IRR at a copper price of $3.00 per pound based on the feasibility study published by Hudbay in 2017.

Hudbay noted that the issuance of the MPO serves as the final administrative step in the permitting process for the Rosemont project.

The announcement comes after Hudbay signed an agreement this month to acquire a minority joint venture interest of 7.95% owned by United Copper & Moly in Rosemont for $75m.

Over the first ten years of operations, the $1.9bn Rosemont project is expected to produce about 127,000t of copper a year at a cash cost of $1.14 per pound.

Hudbay Minerals president and CEO Alan Hair said: “Receiving the MPO is an important milestone that completes the permitting process at Rosemont.

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“With the receipt of the Section 404 Water Permit, an agreement to consolidate 100% ownership and receipt of the approved MPO, Hudbay continues to move the project forward. Rosemont is now a fully permitted, shovel-ready copper project and we look forward to developing this world-class asset.”

“Rosemont is now a fully permitted, shovel-ready copper project and we look forward to developing this world-class asset.”

The project, which is expected to create 500 jobs, was opposed by environmentalists for years over water issues.

Located about 50km southeast of Tucson, the Rosemont project contemplates an open pit on the eastern slope of the Santa Rita.

Hudbay has assets in North and South America and focusses on the discovery, production and marketing of base and precious metals.