By The Associated Press

A company seeking to re-establish the Chloride Copper Mine says the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has accepted its "mine plan of operation."

The Kingman Daily Miner reports that the recent formal acceptance allows the Sierra Resource Group to submit its draft environmental assessment and the company anticipates producing its first copper in early 2013.

Sierra CEO Rod Martin says when all permits are approved, Sierra will be free to complete construction and start production.

He says copper is trading at about $3.40 a pound, and its future curve should either stay flat or increase slightly due to the increased demand in developing nations.

Martin says the company expects to hire up to 40 people to operate the mine site.