State environmental regulators plan to issue a temporary but renewable aquifer-protection permit for an underground copper mining project in Florence.
The Casa Grande Dispatch reports that the Department of Environmental Quality plans to hold a public hearing the evening of May 19 at Florence High School on the draft temporary permit for Florence Copper Inc.'s testing work.
Town officials and many residents fearing contamination of the local water supply oppose the project, which would mine underground copper by dissolving it with an acid solution and pumping it to the surface for extraction from the solution.
Supporters like the prospect of adding jobs and diversifying the local economy.
The company says it'll begin the project's small-scale testing phase once it receives a needed federal permit.