Andrew Taplin is the Project Manager for the Resolution Copper project. He is primarily responsible for the overall permitting and further development of the project. Taplin has been with Rio Tinto since 1993, during this time he has worked in various leadership positions in the port, rail and mine operations in Australia, Canada and West Africa. Prior to being selected to work at the Resolution Copper Project, he served as Chief Integration Office for he Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, West Africa.
Taplin explained that he has enjoyed working at the Resolution Copper Project and especially enjoys working in smaller mining communities. One of Taplin’s goals is to continue developing a strong working relationship with the Town of Superior and the surrounding communities. “We can do some really good things,” he explained in regards to working with the Town of Superior and the economic benefits the project will bring to the town. During his interview, he explained that Rio Tinto requires a social license to operate, that social license is where the company can work with the communities to ensure the environmental and economic concerns are managed.
He enjoys working with the local elected officials and community leaders throughout the region. “There a many great leaders in this state,” he explained. “Arizona has a great pioneering spirit, that spirit built projects like the Roosevelt Dam, that same pioneering spirit will help us to build the largest copper mine in the United States.”
The Copper Area News, asked Taplin what he envisioned for the project and Superior 15 years from now. He envisions a world class mine being developed near Superior which will provide local, regional and statewide opportunities. There will be high levels of local employment, procurement and mining service businesses located in Superior, due to the development of the mine. He also sees the company helping to support the growth of eco tourism projects that will help to further diversify the local economy.
In the early days of mining, you rarely saw a woman in labor position let alone a management position. The mine workforce of today is much mored diverse, and you find more women leading the way throughout the industry. Vicky Peacey is the Senior Manager of Environmental and External Affairs for Resolution Copper. Peacey is responsible for the environmental permitting and regulations. She has been one of the primary managers responsible for the completion of the Mine Plan of Operations, and often speaks publicly about the how the National Environmental Policy Act will be applied to the project.
Peacey provided some insight on working for Rio Tinto and being a woman in the mining industry. “Being a woman isn’t any different, the industry is diverse and working for Rio Tinto, they provide the tools and resources to get the job done,” she said. Peacey explained that she always enjoyed technical work, reclamation, and community issue. “The mining industry has allowed me to explore and gain experience in these areas.”
While mining companies have been operating all over the world for decades, much has changed in the way they operate, Peacey plays a key role in those industry changes at Resolution Copper. “Communities expect more, they expect a high degree of communication and they want assurances that regulations will be met.” Rio Tinto the parent company of Resolution Copper embraces those expectations, she explained. “It’s how we work. We work to gain and show trustworthiness.”
Copper Area News, asked Peacey about what she sees in the future for the project, and Superior. Fifteen years from now she expects that the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation act will be completed, the mine will be permitted and the company will be working with the Town of Superior on capacity issues such as having adequate housing for the mine employees and their families. “I look forward to seeing vibrancy and the hustle and bustle in the community, in a good way,” she explained. In 30 years, she expects to see that the residents of Superior will see decreased tax bills, there will be opportunities for first rate education which is funded adequately. “I hope to see Superior as a sustainable community, with a vibrant diversified economy.”
Etchells. Both the hauling business and the stage line began doing well. To give you an idea of how the hauling at the Mammoth Mine was done and how well Neal’s business was doing, an article in the Mohave County Miner dated May 12, 1894 reported:
“One of the largest freighting outfits in the world is used in connection with the mill at the Mammoth property. The distance from the mine to the mill is three miles, all but half a mile down grade. Three teams move 145 tons of ore a day. Each team consists of twenty animals, and they draw four wagons. Three trips are made a day, usually without doubling, though sometimes one or two wagons are taken off at the uphill half mile. The wagons are immense affairs, almost as big as box cars. The tires are from four to five inches wide and from an inch and a quarter to an inch and a half thick. Wm. Neal is one of the best businessmen in southern Arizona.”
Besides hauling the ore at the Mammoth mine, Neal also transported gold bullion from the mine to a bank in Tucson on one of his wagons. He would take precautions changing the type of wagon, routes and delivery times each trip to avoid robbers. His wife Annie, known to be a crack shot, would sometimes ride shotgun. During one transport in a canyon wash somewhere between Mammoth and Oracle, his wagon was caught in a raging flash flood. He was able to make it to safety but the wagon and mules were lost, so was the gold. So well known for his honesty, the mining company did not question that the gold was truly lost. Although many searched for it, the gold was never recovered.
An ad for Neal’s stage line that appeared in the Tucson Weekly Citizen in the 1890s looked like this:
Tucson, Oracle & Mammoth Stage
Fare Tucson to Steam Pump $1.00.
Fare Tucson to Oracle, Mountain View Hotel and vicinity $3.00.
Fare Tucson to Mammoth $4.00.
Passengers entitled to 40 pounds baggage.
Excess baggage to Mammoth 2 ½ cents per pound.
Excess baggage to Oracle 2 cents per pound.
Expressage by stage to Mammoth 2 ½ cents per pound.
Expressage by stage to Oracle 2 cents per pound.
No package will be carried for less than 25 cents.
158 West Pennington Street.
WM. Neal, Proprietor
In 1894 construction on the Mountain View Hotel in Oracle began. Curly had it built for his wife Annie. It would have its grand opening in 1895. The Mountain View would become an internationally renowned resort. The hotel was said to have cost $90,000. The building that was once the Mountain View Hotel is now the Oracle Baptist Church on American Avenue.
Neal was also successful in the ranching business, owning the 3-N Ranch. An article from the El Paso Herald newspaper dated November 3, 1915 reported “William Neal of Oracle, Arizona has closed a deal for the sale of 1,500 head of cattle to New Mexico cattlemen. This sale aggregates about $40,000, and the cattle are now being shipped to New Mexico.”
Neal would die in an accident in 1936. His contributions to the history of Mammoth and Oracle are noteworthy. Although mining was more successful in the Mammoth area, the mines around the Oracle area were important to its history. Neal delivered mail and supplies to many of the mining camps that sprouted up in the Catalina Mountains and brought investors and people with money to the area. Neal’s knowledge of the area and his friendship with Buffalo Bill Cody brought Cody to Oracle. Cody would become involved in mining ventures in the area which also brought publicity for Oracle.