Minding the Mine

Last week, I joined some colleagues on a tour of the proposed Rosemont Mine site, just off of Highway 83 in the Santa Rita Mountains.

The tour was led by Jeffrey Cornoyer, the senior mine geologist for Rosemont Copper. Dan Ryan, the former TV sports dude who is now Rosemont's community relations director, was also along for the ride.

I have to give Rosemont Copper credit—a lot of credit—for being so open and apparently honest about its intentions in the Santa Ritas. The company is offering regular, open-to-the-public tours of the open-pit mine site—sign up at rosemontcopper.com if you'd like—and is apparently taking a lot of expensive, extra steps to be a good community member, to use less water, and to make sure "reclamation" of the mine site is done in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

Problem is they're going to utterly destroy almost an entire, postcard-gorgeous valley—and most of the plants and many of the animals that call the area home—in the process.

I understand and appreciate all of the pro-mine arguments. Our world needs copper; it's vital to hybrid/electric cars and a lot of other elements of the new "green" economy. I understand that Southern Arizona needs jobs, and that the proposed mine would bring in a lot of jobs for the 20 or so years that it's in operation.

I also appreciate and admire Rosemont Copper and its parent company, Augusta Resource Corp., for showing almost unparalleled openness in their Rosemont efforts. I really do.

But, man, this mine needs to be stopped. Yeah, the world needs copper. But the world doesn't need to get it from such a gorgeous, environmentally sensitive place.

Go to www.scenicsantaritas.org for information on fighting the proposed Rosemont Mine.

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