This week, Resolution Copper Mining is celebrating five years of operation at its onsite water treatment plant. In the five year history of the plant, water removed from the inner workings of the old Magma Mine has been sent by pipeline to farmers in the New Magma Irrigation and Drainage District. Resolution Copper Mining is helping deliver water to 6,800 acres of crops near San Tan Valley via 27 miles of pipeline by electing to pump out, treat and pipe water for beneficial use. “Finding a way to benefit Arizona farmers through our dewatering project is a win-win scenario,” said James Almaas, Manager of Dewatering and Reclamation, “Using our water allows local farmers to reduce groundwater pumping.”
The Resolution Copper Project is located in the same area occupied by the Magma Mine, which ceased production in 1996. After its closure, groundwater has been accumulating in the abandoned workings and in order for mining operations to be feasible again; the water needed to be removed. Beginning in 2009, excess mine water has been brought up from 4,000 feet below the surface to be treated at an onsite state-of-the-art treatment plant, where it is cleaned and filtered. “I am pleased about our exceptional safety record over the last five years of the plant’s operation,” said Andrew Taplin, Project Manager “finding a mutually beneficial use for this water only adds to its success. This is the way Resolution Copper does business.”
The pipeline runs downhill and uses gravity, not energy-driven pumps, to move the water. The water is blended with Central Arizona Project water and used to irrigate crops including alfalfa, cotton, turf and small grains. Growers are provided with all data pertaining to their fields at the end of each growing season. To date, sampling and monitoring results have indicated water quality has been suitable for soils and crops grown within New Magma Irrigation and Drainage District.