- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - A proposed new underground copper mine in Florence is advancing in the regulatory process.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a draft permit for a test site for the project, which plans to inject an acid solution underground to pull out copper.

Florence is located in Pinal County in south-central Arizona.

According to the Arizona Republic (https://goo.gl/82jeLB ), the company can begin producing copper cathodes if it obtains a formal permit after a public comment period triggered by the issuance of the draft permit.

The EPA says it believes the work that would be allowed under the draft permit includes protections for underground sources of drinking water.

The project has stirred controversy and opponents say they continue to question whether the mine can be operated safely.

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