By Mila Besich Lira
Resolution Copper has hosted two community forums to help the public understand the complexities of the pending mining project.
The first forum was held on June 12 and shared the economic benefits and impacts that the Resolution Copper project will have on Superior. The presentation was made by Danny Court who is an Economist for the Elliot D. Pollack Company. The company has completed an economic study and has determined that the project will create 1,400 direct jobs with Resolution Copper and 2,700 indirect jobs. These numbers do not include the construction jobs that will be created prior to the mine opening. Court also explained how the project will save the local tax payers by reducing their property taxes to the school district and the county.
The second presentation was held on June 26, the topic of this forum was about the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This particular subject has been highly controversial and opposition groups have said that current land exchange legislation will allow the company to avoid the NEPA process. Patty McGrath with Tetra Tech explained how the the NEPA process is used to regulate mining and other development projects. The NEPA looks at a project in a holistic way to determine what affects a project will have on the environment as well as cultural and other socioeconomic concerns.
McGrath explained that even if the project is constructed on private land a NEPA will have to be conducted. The NEPA or Environmental Review will need to be conducted because other public lands are near the project or roads, pipelines, or power lines will cross into those public lands, that alone will require the entire project to have a NEPA review regardless of land ownership.
McGrath was not fully versed on the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange bill but was able to explain the NEPA process and share how the company will have to comply with the act. Vickie Peacey the Environmental, Legal and External Affairs manager for Resolution Copper explained to the packed house that once the mine plan of operations was completed it would be submitted to the Forest Service, once the Forest Service receives the plan, Forest Service officials will determine and initiate the necessary environmental studies needed. Peacey explained that Resolution Copper is expecting to have the Mine Plan of Operations completed later this year.
Overall both forums have allowed for ample time for those in attendance to have their questions and concerns addressed and discussed openly.
Resolution has four more community forums scheduled to address other project concerns such as the mining method, water use, tailings management and the land exchange legislation. The meetings are held at the Magma Club, 38 Kumpke Ct., Superior, from 6-8 p.m. The topic schedule includes:
• July 10 – Underground Mining and Block Caving – Why This Method?
• July 17 – Resolution Water Story – Studies, Impacts and Supply
• July 24 – How We Manage Tailings
• August 20 – What This Land Exchange Really Means with Rep. Paul Gosar and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick
Those interested in learning more about the previous or upcoming forums can visit the reports section of the Resolution Copper website: