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Permitting and Environmental Impact Assessment

Background

In 2017, Highland Copper retained Foth as the lead environmental consultant for the Copperwood Project in the western part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This engagement included incorporation of historic hydrologic data into an amended Mining Permit Application and Environmental Impact Assessment for the optimized project, along with preparation of an updated air permit application.

Approach

Foth worked closely with the project proponent to identify project changes that needed to be evaluated as part of the updated project design. These project changes had to be incorporated into the amended mine permit application and revised air permit application.

To complete the revised air permit application, Foth identified all significant sources of air emissions from the planned operation and completed a detailed emissions inventory to serve as the basis for the revised application. The emission inventory characterized all material handling operations, both above ground and underground. This included both point and fugitive sources of air emissions across the site, including emissions of chemicals listed as state air toxics. Foth also performed detailed air dispersion modeling to demonstrate that facility-wide air emissions associated with point and fugitive emission sources would meet federal and state ambient air quality requirements.

In completing the amended mine permit application, Foth worked with the new project team to identify project changes that needed to be incorporated. Project infrastructure such as vent raises, facility layouts, and tailings storage areas were revised as part of the new project plan. The project modifications required the amended permit to be revised including the environmental impact assessment and associated findings. Updated permit documents, including reclamation plans and financial assurance updates, were incorporated into the new submittal.

Results

Foth worked closely with the project proponent and the regulatory agencies during the permit review process. Highland Copper received the new mining permit and revised air permit at the end of 2018.  The revised permits de-risked the project development and forwarded the project toward construction.

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