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Copper Conflict

Opponents Fight Mine in Arizona Desert

Bjoern Wylezich/Shutterstock.com

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has reversed course without explanation, greenlighting the Rosemont copper mine proposed by Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals in Arizona’s Santa Rita mountains, 30 miles from Tucson. The Corps approved Rosemont’s Clean Water Act permit this spring after recommending its denial more than two years earlier. Environmentalists, local leaders and indigenous people are suing over the violation of this environmentally sensitive habitat. The Tohono O’odham, Pascua Yaqui and Hopi tribes consider the land sacred. The Cienega Aquifer will be severely impacted by a conical pit a mile wide and up to 2,900 feet deep. Tailings will cover miles of streams and trucks would haul an estimated 50 daily shipments of copper concentrate down the adjacent two-lane highway.


This article appears in the August 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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