Recent news coverage about the Rosemont project has characterized our receipt of the 404 permit from the Army Corps of Engineers as a “win” for Hudbay. While many, including myself, are certainly excited to have received this permit, I believe this is also a win for the Southern Arizona community and ALL of our stakeholders. The benefits extend further than the obvious economic and employment numbers already cited in the press.

The feedback received from the community during our 12-year permitting process was extensive, thorough and sometimes critical. There is no doubt that these comments were sincere and, in some cases, deeply felt.

As a result of our stakeholders’ suggestions and their collective influence, Rosemont’s design was repeatedly modified, and numerous mitigation measures were identified to offset impacts to the environment and the neighboring communities, allowing the project to proceed.

These mitigation requirements are now part of our authorization to operate and will lead to the development of a world-class project operating under precedent-setting standards for environmental protection and resource conservation.

In my view, the individuals and organizations who fought Rosemont through this process have accomplished a great deal. They have helped create a legacy that will continue benefiting the local community long after the controversy over Rosemont has subsided. These accomplishments will likely not make headlines but should not go unacknowledged.

As a result of the environmental-review process, Rosemont has agreed to conservation, recreational and cultural commitments with a total value of more than $150 million. These include:

  • Building a pipeline to bring CAP water to the Sahuarita area and recharging 100 percent of the water used throughout the life of the project.
  • Purchasing rights to a large volume of surface water in Cienega Creek to be used to enhance the biological functions of the watershed. This water is currently used on a golf course.
  • Restoring the channel and floodplains of Sonoita Creek on a 1,580-acre property with year-round flowing water.
  • Establishing a fund of $25 million where the interest will support in perpetuity conservation, cultural and recreational projects.
  • $500,000 in annual contributions to the community for conservation, cultural and recreational projects.
  • Conserving 3,297 acres of land by legally restricting uses to conservation, recreation and compatible activities.
  • Providing a well-owners protection program to residents who could be affected by changes in groundwater levels.
  • Creating an exhibit at the Rosemont Public Visitor Center describing the 7,000 years of history at the site.
  • Providing opportunities for tribal members to collect plants for traditional, medicinal and ceremonial uses.
  • Funding extensive mitigation and monitoring measures for endangered species, including big-cat camera studies.
  • Removing invasive, non-native species and creating new habitats for endangered species such as the yellow-billed cuckoo and southwest willow flycatcher.
  • Creating ponds for the Chiricahua leopard frogs that will provide a source of water for frogs and other wildlife.
  • Funding maintenance and improvements to State Route 83, such as additional turn and through-traffic lanes to minimize impact to traffic.
  • Funding to the Smithsonian Institution to monitor sky brightness and ensure compliance with the dark-skies lighting plan.
  • Providing funding for off-highway vehicles trails and relocating portions of the Arizona Trail for recreational purposes.

Throughout this journey, we listened to our stakeholders and sought to understand their concerns. We will continue to listen as Rosemont enters its next phase.

I sincerely look forward to operating a modern mine in one of the leading mining regions in the world, while building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with ALL of our stakeholders. We’re excited about what can be achieved at Rosemont.

Andre Lauzon is vice president, Arizona Business Unit, for Hudbay Minerals.