The Project


Since the 1870s, the area surrounding Hillsboro, NM has played a vital role in New Mexico's growth and economic development and has been known for its rich mineral deposits, including gold, silver, and copper. Development of the Copper Flat Project will continue this history of economic contribution to the region and the State.

Located in Sierra County, New Mexico, USA, Copper Flat is part of a southwestern region with some of the most significant copper-porphyry deposits globally. The Company’s Copper Flat Project is a brownfield redevelopment project in a stable region with excellent access to existing regional infrastructure. The project design also benefits from a significant amount of existing project infrastructure from previous operations.

Permitting efforts and baseline data collection for the Project began in June 2010. Our company has been focused on attaining necessary permits to resume operations for the past decade, and we have achieved considerable progress toward this goal.

In the United States, federal and state laws ensure responsible project development and operation. New Mexico Copper is committed to state and national standards for data collection, regulatory compliance, public involvement, and environmental protection.

Our stakeholders—including the public, community leaders, and government officials—have played significant roles at multiple stages in the project evaluation and permitting process. The Copper Flat property is on a combination of federal, state, and private lands. To approve the use of the federal lands and comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the lead federal agency for the federal NEPA review of the Copper Flat Project, in coordination with multiple state agencies responsible for regulating and protecting natural resource projects in New Mexico.


Current Project Status

More than $65 million has been invested in the Project, including acquisition, environmental studies, and engineering designs. Cost estimates from current plans and designs show another $300 million will be needed in the future for project construction.

At the federal level, the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) completed a seven-year environmental review of the proposed operation and issued environmental clearance to proceed with the Company's proposed operation. Additionally, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency responsible to administer requirements of the US Clean Water Act, has reviewed the Copper Flat plans and authorized New Mexico Copper Corporation (NMCC) to construct and operate the Project.

The Project also requires approvals from the State of New Mexico, and NMCC has successfully achieved several state permits, including air quality and groundwater protection. An application for a mineral extraction permit has been filed, and most requirements to obtain the permit have been addressed. The operating and reclamation plan required by the permit are complete, and activities to secure a financial guarantee for reclamation of the property are in progress.

A 2018 decision from the New Mexico Third District Court invalidated the majority of the water rights the Company planned to use for the operation; however, we remain dedicated to securing the necessary water rights and adhering to best management practices to limit water use and ensure the environmental protection of the area's water.

We've studied the environmental impacts and designed our facilities to mitigate those effects. Groundwater protection, dust suppression, air and water quality monitoring, and adapting new technologies for environmental protection are top priorities.  For example, our plans include engineering best practices by using state-of-the-art liners to eliminate contact with groundwater. New Mexico Copper is a strictly regulated business, and we are committed to meeting and exceeding regulatory requirements.  Our responsible designs and operating practices will comply with established laws, rigorous regulations, and transparent business practices.

Copper Flat Project Benefits

The Copper Flat Project will provide viable economic development and good-paying, high-skilled employment opportunities to southern New Mexico. Our highly skilled team of project managers, in partnership with a supportive local community and combined with an established infrastructure, is optimal for efficient and profitable production. Additionally, we are using eco-friendly, state-of-the-art design and operating techniques to meet our ESG objectives.

Once operational, the Copper Flat Project is well-positioned to deliver much-desired economic benefits and essential jobs to Sierra County and southern New Mexico.

Project Benefits Include:

  • 270 full-time, good-paying, benefited jobs.
  • 1000 construction and ancillary jobs supporting the southern New Mexico economy.
  • $400 million investment in New Mexico
  • $115 million annual spending for labor, operating supplies, and outside services
  • 2-year construction period
  • 12-year production life
  • 10-year site remediation

Mineral Reserves and Resources

Mineral Reserves

Cut-Off Grade (NSR/t) Tons (000s) Copper (%) Moly (%) Gold (opt) Silver (opt)
Proven $6.11 78,857 0.32 0.010 0.003 0.07
Probable $6.11 34,227 0.25 0.007 0.003 0.04
Total P&P $6.11 113,084 0.30 0.009 0.003 0.06
Copper Equivalent Grade (%)4 0.39

Mineral Resources (Includes Mineral Reserves)

Cut-Off Grade (NSR/t) Tons (000s) Copper (%) Moly (%) Gold (opt) Silver (opt)
Measured $6.11 126,655 0.28 0.009 0.003 0.06
Indicated $6.11 178,571 0.19 0.005 0.002 0.04
Total M&I $6.11 305,226 0.23 0.007 0.002 0.05

(1) Effective October 7, 2013
(2) Reserves and resources based on $3.00/lb Copper, $8.00/lb Moly, $1,350/oz Gold: $20.00/oz Silver

(3) Reserves tabulated using $2.50/lb floating cone
(4) Copper equivalent grade accounts for metal price, metallurgical recovery, and smelter payable factors.

Low Cost of Production

Copper Flat is well positioned in the 2nd Quartile of the Global Copper Cost Curve.

Total production costs are estimated at US $1.20 per pound of copper produced during the first five years of production and US $1.45 per pound of copper produced for the life of the operation.

Low Capital Intensity

The initial capital cost is estimated to be US $374M, which is $10,650 per ton of annual output capacity.

Brownfield Redevelopment

The Project is a Brownfield Redevelopment Project in a stable region with excellent access to existing infrastructure. The Project will realize savings through the reuse of significant infrastructure that remains from previous operations at Copper Flat, which provides an estimated $53.9M in value to the Project.

Financial Return

Copper Price($/lb) NPV($M) IRR(%) Payback(Yrs)
$3.00 165.0 17.3% 3.7
$3.25 240.4 21.1% 3.3
$3.50 314.1 24.5% 3.0
$3.75 387.5 27.8% 2.7

(1) Base case price assumptions based on $3.25/lb Copper, $10.50/lb Moly, $1,300/oz Gold, $16/oz Silver; post private royalty of 3.25%
(2) After Tax NPV at 8% Real Discount Rate