Junior Canadian mining company Rosemont Copper and its parent company, Augusta Resource, are spending significant amounts of money attempting to convince southern Arizonans that their proposed, massive open pit copper mine in the Santa Rita mountains will not adversely impact our quality of life.
When one looks beyond Rosemont’s PR spin and examines key facts about this project, it becomes clear that the proposed Rosemont Mine is bad for our environment, our economy and our communities. These facts are supported by either Rosemont’s own documents and/or 3rd party sources. (Note: Click here to download a printable one-page version of these facts)
FACT: Augusta, a Canadian company, is using a law signed in 1872 by President Ulysses S. Grant to take approximately 3,300 acres of our public lands at essentially no cost and turn it into an open pit copper mine and mine waste dump.
FACT: In documents filed with Canadian financial regulatory agency, Augusta Resource discloses that it has no “history of production” and “has never recorded any revenues from mining operations.” As a result, there is no track record on which to evaluate Rosemont Copper’s willingness or ability to follow through on its promises on how it will operate this mine.
FACT: Rosemont Copper is proposing to excavate a massive open pit copper mine that will be over a mile across rim-to-rim and more than a half a mile deep. The amount of rock that will be removed will approximately weigh the same as 18,000 aircraft carriers.
FACT: The proposed Rosemont mine will have no direct access to a rail line. The only access to the mine site is via scenic State Route 83 and I-10. All of the ore extracted from the mine and all of the equipment, chemicals, and explosives will be trucked on that rural highway. The access routes for the proposed Rosemont Mine runs straight through anticipated growth areas for the City of Tucson.
FACT: Unlike every other industrial, agricultural, and residential water user in the state, mines are essentially unregulated water users. Groundwater extraction permits for mines are “must issue”. As a result, they face no legal restrictions or limits on the amount of water they can extract from the aquifer. Notwithstanding what they say today, Rosemont can pump as much water as they want at any point in the future.
FACT: The open pit for the Rosemont Copper mine will be excavated right into the middle of a major aquifer for the region. While the mine is operating, continuous pumping will be necessary to prevent the mine from flooding. According to Rosemont’s own planning documents, when the mine closes, pumping will cease and storm run-off will be directed into the pit and a “pit lake” will be created. Experience with other mines indicates that the water in this pit lake could become a highly toxic soup and result in the potential of it seeping into the groundwater—contaminating this aquifer, a key southern Arizona water source.
Groundwater Flow Modeling Report prepared by Montgomery and Assoc. for Rosemont Copper, October 2009
FACT: The Rosemont mine will permanently destroy a significant area of the Santa Rita Mountain Range. Rosemont’s Reclamation Plan makes it clear that post closure, it will not backfill the open pit thus leaving a permanent mile-wide hole, that will result in the creation of a pit lake.