Groups Send Letter to Elected Officials Asking They Oppose Rosemont Mine

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A dozen Arizona and national environmental groups have sent a joint letter to elected officials requesting them to oppose the construction of the proposed $1.23 billion Rosemont open-pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains on the Coronado National Forest southeast of Tucson.

“We are writing to express our continued strong opposition to the proposed Rosemont Mine and to urge you to join with us in our effort to stop it,” states the letter sent last week to elected officials. “We are engaged in this process because the Rosemont Mine poses such a serious threat to southern Arizona’s water supplies, air quality, wildlife, cultural heritage, and local economies.”

Vancouver, B.C.-based Augusta Resource Corporation is seeking permits through its Arizona subsidiary Rosemont Copper Company to construct the mile-wide, half-mile deep mine and plans to export the copper overseas.

The mine site would destroy more than 4,000 acres of National Forest and directly or indirectly damage more than 100 miles of washes, seeps, springs and streams. The proposed mine lies less than three miles west of the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Las Cienagas includes a rare, shallow Sonoran Desert aquifer that is projected to be directly impacted by the construction of the mine pit that will reverse groundwater flow directions and draw water away from the aquifer and into the pit.

The Coronado National Forest published the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Draft Record of Decision (ROD) for this project on Dec. 16, 2013. A 45-day review and objection began on Jan. 1, after which the Forest Service has up to 75 days to address any objections raised before it can make any final decisions about the project.

Coronado National Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch has publicly stated the FEIS fails to resolve nor fully addresses numerous significant issues raised by local, state and other federal agencies.

“For example, the US EPA analyzed Rosemont’s proposed water pollution mitigation plan and concluded that it is ‘grossly inadequate,’ that it ‘does not comply’ with Clean Water Act Guidelines, and that the Rosemont Mine project ‘should not be permitted as proposed,’” the letter states.

The letter notes that none of the 12 tribal nations and communities have signed a Memorandum of Understanding related to the destruction of scores of irreplaceable cultural sites and burial grounds that will be destroyed by the project.

“We remain committed to ensuring that our environment, economies, and cultural heritage are not jeopardized by this short-sighted mining proposal, a project that would primarily enrich a handful of foreign investors at the expense of those of us whose lives and livelihoods would be jeopardized by the mine’s depletion of precious groundwater supplies and its pervasive and round-the clock water, air, noise, and light pollution,” the letter states.

The groups signing the letter include: Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, Earthworks, Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter, Friends of Madera Canyon, Tucson Audubon Society, Mountain Empire Action Alliance, Coalition for the Sonoran Desert Protection, Sky Island Alliance, Arizona Mining Reform Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity and the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance.

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4 Responses to Groups Send Letter to Elected Officials Asking They Oppose Rosemont Mine

  1. ALAN JOHNSON says:

    FOR ALL THOSE ELECTED OFFICIALS WHO RECEIVE THE ” GROUP LETTER ” , I WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT THE ARIZONA SUN NEWSPAPER IN ITS REPORTING ON THE ROSEMONT PROJECT HAS BECOME VERY BIASED WITH ITS NEGATIVE ATTACK ON ALL GROUPS WHO OPPOSE THE PROJECT . THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE NEWSPAPER AND AUGUSTA RESOURCES APPEARS TO GO FAR DEEPER THAN SIMPLY A ” CLIENT – MERCHANT ” STATUS . ” ELECTED OFFICIALS ” WHO MIGHT JUST READ THE NEWSPAPER SHOULD BE ALERTED TO THIS FACT . THE NEWSPAPER APPEARS TO BE IGNORING FACT AS IT TRIES TO AROSE THE EMOTIONS OF ITS READERS . MANKIND MUST NOT BE ALLOWED THE RIGHT TO DESTROY THAT WHICH IT DID NOT HELP TO CREATE .

  2. Thomas Stewart says:

    Good Golly Miss Molly The “Tree Hugers” All 5 Of You Should Be Ashamed Of Yourself!! Complaining About Something That You Know Nothing About, Arizona Needs Jobs And Rosemont Mine Has A 21st Century Mining Operation And Good Safe Jobs. I Have Checked Out The Rosemont Mine And Maybe You “Tree Hugers” Should Take The Tour And Check Out The Other Mines In Arizona The Cleanest And Best Run Mines In The Entire World.

    • Ken Paul says:

      Nice use of meaningless and superfluous rhetoric in a vein to attempt to mitigate the facts stated above. The fact is that there is a overwhelming number of citizens who do not want and will not tolerate an open pit mine in that location. Even the as you say, “21st century” open pit mine is the dirtiest most destructive, water consuming and polluting way to mine, bar none.

      I have quite literally met very few people who support this mine and all of them that I have spoken to either want to or already work for the Rosemont mine. Many of us proactively boycott any business that supports the mine and many more are voicing their disgust with Rosemont and their proposed mine. You sir are the minority and the facts bear that out! Rosemont is part of an investment group who hopes to sell the project for a profit once and if they get approval to start, so I don’t see where you get your idea that they are a proven mine operator when clearly their history of mine ownership in other countries shows quite the contrary (FACT).

      I’m no tree hugger, I just have half a brain and know this mine is too destructive and will consume and pollute too much of our precious ground water. With Augusta Resources track record in owning (not operating) other mines they have proven themselves to be liars, crooks and nothing short of proverbial carpetbaggers.

  3. Duane says:

    Did you go on the tour? I did, it was very informative they are going to bring in more water then they will use and use a filter pressing process to reclaiming and reusing most of their water so they won’t loose very much in the tailings process. If they ship it out of the US it would be to go through the smilting process. This is the dirtest process of makeing copper that’s why most of the Smelters are shut down in the US and those jods went over seas. The US exports stuff everday, it called GDP that’s what made this country so wealthy in the past. Bottom line is Az. needs the jobs we need the tax revenue. Please don’t comment unless you went on the tour and seen how much Good it will do for Az!