Pima County Board of Supervisors resolve to keep hardrock mining out of the Santa Ritas
Times have changed—even for mining:
The Board of Supervisors took a positive step by adopting a resolution stating they objected to mining in the Santa Ritas, specifically at the proposed Rosemont Ranch.
The 1872 law was passed when the intention of settling the West. The miners were small time operators who did do some damage to the terrain, most of which healed with time. In that era, no one imagined pits 3 mile long and 1 mile deep pits; 3,600-acre tailing impoundments; haul trucks of 350 ton capacity. Then the menu of toxic chemicals for floatation, thickening, leaching continues increasing.
There are many possible objections to mining in our small section of the Coronado National Forest that exist in Pima County.
First and foremost, it is a recreational area. As the Tucson population continues to grow, these few areas that we have for recreation will be used and valued more and more.
Second and foremost, mining uses large amounts of water. For reasons best known to mining lobbyists, use of water by mines was exempt from the Arizona Groundwater Code. The impact of water use makes construction use seem minuscule. A typical hardrock mine uses some 25,000 acre feet of water annually. This translates to the water used by 25,000 families of four per year.
In this case, Augusta proposed—from the goodness of their own pockets because it is not required—to buy CAP water that is available to them to recharge up at Marana. Even if they had been able to buy credits for recharge
There are many concerns:
The roads and traffic of up to 100 trucks a day hauling in supplies and chemicals and taking out ore and concentrate for smelting. The loss of habitat for numerous birds and animals. The pounding of ANFO (enhanced dynamite) explosions. A waste pile of over one billion tons of waste which will reach seventeen stories height on the 3,000 acres of Forest Service land that they want to acquire. The sentinel of electrical poles through the forest to expend exorbitant amounts of electricity.
Ray Carroll and his staff have started in motion the procedure to get this area protected from mining on the Federal level by our Congresspersons. A citizen from Portal, Arizona reported at the hearing that they had been successful in such an endeavor and recommended it. This is an excellent solution, but a stop gap one that will keep the residents of the southwest forever trying to protect one place, then another.
It is evident that we need to do some real work—On the Federal level to protect our Public Lands from strip and hardrock mining by revising the 1872 mining law. Further, on the State level to protect our future water supply by insisting that mining has to show there is 100-year water supply for their operations and it will not drawdown the public and private wells in that region.
For signed Resolution with objections to Augusta Resources mining proposal: Rosemont Resolution
For complete report (includes above 3 pages): www.pima.gov/cob/e-agenda/01162007/ADM-2-A.pdf
For additional material: www.pima.gov/cob/e-agenda/01162007/Adm-2-A-fromDist-4.pdf