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Rick Grinnell and Bill Assenmacher: Why Southern Arizona needs the Rosemont Mine

Rick Grinnell and Bill Assenmacher: Why Southern Arizona needs the Rosemont Mine

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Rosemont Mine

The proposed Rosemont Copper Mine’s open pit would span 6,000 to 6,500 feet in all directions and drop up to 3,100 feet into the ground.

We are writing in response to the Dec. 9 guest opinion column, “Rosemont mine would bring devastation to Southern Arizona” by Tohono O’odham Chairman Edward D. Manuel and Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias.

We are with the Southern Arizona Business Coalition (SABC), which was formed to support the responsible development of new, expanding and relocating industries with an emphasis on mining and related technology here in Southern Arizona and around the state.

The headline begins with a very unfitting and disingenuous representation of the Rosemont Copper project being developed by Hudbay Minerals. There is no sound scientific evidence being presented by the authors to support their inflammatory rhetoric.

Let’s look at the facts about the need for copper and this project. As the population has increased and technology has advanced the uses and demand for copper has increased. Copper has to be mined where the ore body exists, period. This is why the Rosemont Copper project is here.

Rosemont meets or exceeds environmental, air and water quality standards along with addressing other related concerns set by the federal government. In fact, over 17 state and federal agencies have reviewed and provided constructive feedback regarding the enhancements needed for the development of this project.

Their years of processing the permits only stress to reiterate their commitment to protecting the health and environmental standards set forth in law. Neither the U.S. Forest Service in their Record of Decision (ROD) in May 2017 nor the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality would have authorized this project without the scientific evidence to support their approvals. And, the pending Clean Water Act 404 permit is in the process of finishing its review with the same due diligence and professionalism to ensure the safety of the water issues.

Chairman Manuel’s position regarding the Tohono O’odham Nation’s ancestral inhabitant and burial site concerns are very clearly addressed in the U.S. Forest Service’s (ROD). Mitigation and preservation has long been a part of the process to respect and provide responsible recovery of the ancestral remains of the Native Americans found on the site and less than 2 percent of the Santa Rita mountain region will be disturbed by the development of the mine. This project and supporting industries will provide significant economic and employment opportunities to the younger tribal members, while maintaining their history.

The Rosemont project will generate over $350 million in new tax revenue from the mine for the tri-county area (Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties) that will support roads, education and the ever-increasing needs of the citizens over the life of the project (19 years) and will employ 500 direct jobs and over 2,000 indirect jobs at peak development, which will further the tax revenue.

The people of this great industry and their suppliers are good and humble citizens that contribute their time and money to the many nonprofits and education organizations throughout Southern Arizona.

Rosemont has already contributed over $1 million to these valued efforts over the last 12 years and their current 40 employees donate their personal time and financial support adding to this total.

The real devastation here in the unqualified representation of the “facts” and the disrespect to the people who will work with the commitment and passion to do everything they can to ensure the protection of all natural and human resources throughout the region.

Bill Assenmacher is president and Rick Grinnell is vice president of the Southern Arizona Business Coalition, a pro-mining organization. Contact them at rick@soazbc.com.


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The Army Corps of Engineers today issued the Clean Water Act permit for the $1.9 billion open-pit mine to be built in the Santa Ritas near Tucson. It will be the country’s third-largest copper mine, accounting for 10 percent of annual U.S. copper production, the mining company says.

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