Before we can construct or operate the proposed mine, we need the approval of federal, state and local agencies. This includes getting our plans for the mine approved by the federal government under the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act or, NEPA.

What the law requires

NEPA requirements are consistent with our commitment to work with the community and create a mine that can minimize environmental impacts and preserve local cultural heritage. Under the NEPA process, the federal government assesses, reviews and approves:

  • The things we must do to prevent or mitigate the project’s potential impact on the environment and the area’s biological and cultural resources
  • How we will comply with all the laws that apply to the project and protect the area’s environment, health, safety and biodiversity (including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act)
  • The steps we must take to adhere to laws that protect areas of cultural importance. In our case, these regulations include, but are not limited to, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the American Antiquities Act
  • Our plan to reclaim and restore the area once mining is complete, and how much financial assurance we must provide to make sure Resolution Copper, not the taxpayers, pays for closing the mine, reclamation and for ongoing environmental monitoring

How it works

Step 1: Resolution Copper submits a Mine Plan of Operations to the U.S. Forest Service, the federal agency in charge of the process. We outline our proposed plans to design, construct, operate and close the mine, and how we will reclaim and restore the area once mining is complete. The plan includes baseline data about the water, air, and biology in and around the project and our plans to protect these valuable resources.

Step 2: The Forest Service formally announces its plan to develop an Environment Impact Statement on the project that gives the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed plan.

Step 3: The Forest Service develops a draft Environmental Impact Statement, (EIS) with information about how the project will impact the environment and how we will mitigate or offset those impacts. In the EIS, the Forest Service evaluates alternatives to our plan.

Step 4: The public reviews and comments on the draft EIS. Based on these comments, the Forest Service and other agencies may do more analysis on our plan, and may require us to change it or refine our plans to mitigate the impact of our proposed operation.

Step 5: The Forest Service publishes a final EIS that addresses the public’s comments and any changes made as a result. The public can review this document as well. Along with the final EIS, the Forest Service will also release a draft Record of Decision.

Step 6: The Forest Service issues a “Record of Decision,” which means our plan is approved. The public has 45 days to object to the decision and the Forest Service must respond and address any concerns within 90 days. Once this period is complete, and we receive a final Record of Decision, the Forest Service can issue a final approved plan of operations.

Only after we receive final approval, in addition to dozens of additional permits, can the Resolution Copper project move forward and begin producing copper.

Learn more about the permitting process on the US Forest Service project website.