Miner pumps $2B into first fast-tracked critical minerals project


An Australian mining company is investing more than $2 billion into a proposed zinc mine in southern Arizona — the first critical minerals project the Biden administration has opted to fast-track through a special permitting process.

South32’s board announced the funding decision Wednesday for its Hermosa mine, which the company said will allow it to begin producing zinc ore, used in electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy technologies, by the first half of 2027.

“It is a historic investment in this region … the largest private investment in the history of southern Arizona,” said South32 Hermosa President Pat Risner.

The zinc deposit is part of the larger Hermosa proposal, which also involves mining manganese and building a processing plant — largely on private land — in a historical mining district in Santa Cruz County near the U.S.-Mexico border. Part of the project will disturb lands within the Coronado National Forest. Local opponents of the mine have raised questions about its water usage and potential harm to endangered species.

This article was originally published by a www.eenews.net

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