Elim Mining Logo

CASA GRANDE — Elim Mining has secured the money it needs to finalize the purchase of the old Sacaton Mine west of Casa Grande.

The company announced Friday that it had secured $19.1 million in funding from Tembo Capital Group and Resource Capital Funds to complete the process.

“This is a great day for Elim. Despite all the challenges in today’s world and financial markets, we have built a solid business case for this site. The long-term outlook for copper is positive. We have great deposits and are excited about the potential this site brings,” said John Antwi, president and CEO of Elim.

Elim signed an agreement to purchase the Sacaton Mine from the ASARCO Environmental Custodial Trust in November. The primary resource Elim hopes to get from the mine is copper, but it will also be looking for smaller deposits of gold, silver and molybdenum. Molybdenum is used to strengthen steel and other metals. The company plans to rename the site the Cactus Mine.

The company plans to continue to study the environmental conditions at the site and start exploration, drilling and developing a mining operations plan for the site. It hopes to reopen the mine for production in 2022, according to a press release.

“There is a lot to do in keeping the schedule on track — defining the geological conditions, determining the right mining methods, transportation and infrastructure, locating key facilities and establishing and maintaining high standards of health and safety, and environmental responsibility. These factors take time and we want to be certain that we are getting them right,” said Ian McMullan, Elim’s chief operating officer.

“I have been in the area long enough to remember the old Sacaton Mine, which closed over 35 years ago, and the prospect of it being put back into production is very exciting,” Pinal County Supervisor Steve Miller, R-Casa Grande, stated in a company press release. “I look forward to the day it opens, the jobs it will create and it being another economic engine for Pinal County.”

Ramm Power Group is also interested in the mine property. Ramm wants to use the property to build a pumped storage hydropower facility to generate renewable electricity. The company filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the project but its application was denied on March 4 because it was incomplete.

Ramm announced its intent to refile the application in March. According to the latest documents filed with the FERC on July 8, Ramm’s work on the new application has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it plans to submit the new application in the next six months.

ASARCO operated the mine between April 1974 and March of 1984, according to Arizona Geological Survey records. In 1985, ASARCO considered turning the open-pit mine into a landfill. The company dropped the idea in 1987 after strong public opposition to the project.

In 2009, the state of Arizona reached a $20 million settlement with ASARCO to clean up the site.