The centerpiece of Augusta Resource Corporation’s public relations campaign for its proposed Rosemont copper mine is that mile-wide, half-mile deep open pit mine will be a “state-of-the-art, first-class mine”.
Augusta also likes to describe the Rosemont project as “21st Century mine”, a transparent gimmick meant to convince the public that Rosemont will be dramatically different from other open-pit copper mines that destroyed vast areas of Arizona’s landscape and polluted ground water over the last 100 years.
“The Rosemont Project is a 21st century operation using the latest technology to help reduce impacts to the environment,” says Rosemont Copper Company CEO Rod Pace. Rosemont Copper Co. is a subsidiary of Vancouver, B.C.-based Augusta.
Rosemont has spent millions of dollars in advertising and contributions to Southern Arizona community foundations, political campaigns and business leagues promoting the image of a “state-of-the-art” mine.
Augusta, however, abandons the glitzy line when it comes time to describe its mine plan to regulators.
Last November, a Rosemont Copper Company attorney cut to the chase in a letter requesting that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality take over review of the company’s air quality permit application from Pima County.
“The (Rosemont Copper Project) is a typical open pit copper mine that is planned for construction in the area generally south, southeast of Tucson within Pima County,” Rosemont Copper counsel Eric Hiser stated in a Nov. 23, 2011 letter to the ADEQ.
Once again, Augusta/Rosemont continue their pattern of deceptive statements, telling the public one thing and regulators quite a different story.
The fact is, while Augusta says it will employ new mining technologies, which are required under state law, the Rosemont mine will destroy a vast area of the Coronado National Forest.
The mine will dump waste rock and dry-stack mine tailings more than 700 feet high across 3,000 acres. Augusta will also leave behind a huge mine pit that will fill with more than 1,000 feet of water, posing an environmental threat to groundwater forever.
As Rosemont’s attorney said quite clearly, the Rosemont mine is just another “typical open pit copper mine.”