SUPERIOR — The USDA Forest Service released the draft environmental impact statement for the Resolution Copper Project and Land Exchange for public review and comment.
The Resolution Copper project is a proposed underground copper mine near the town of Superior. The project would create one of the largest copper mines in the United States, is projected to create more than 1,500 jobs and generate nearly $270 million in labor income for surrounding communities.
“Our multiple-use mission means that we have to balance demand for economic productivity with our commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability,” said Tonto National Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth. “The Forest Service is required to consider proposed plans of operations for mining, and if they meet environmental regulations, minimize environmental impacts and other requirements, we’re required to approve them under the General Mining Law of 1872.”
A notice of availability has been released alongside the DEIS in the Federal Register and begins a 90-day public comment period. The DEIS, supporting documents and instructions on how to comment are available at https://www.resolutionmineeis.us/.
The DEIS describes effects of the proposed Resolution Copper Project and offers five potential alternatives developed considering feedback from a 2016 scoping period.
A limited number of hard copies of the DEIS are available at the Tonto Supervisor’s Office at 2324 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, AZ 85006. Call 602-225-5292 in advance to make sure copies are available.
Tonto National Forest staff is hosting five public meetings between Sept. 10 and Oct. 8. Maps and other materials will be available, and forest staff will be on hand to answer questions. Dates and locations are:
• Sept. 10, from 5-8:30 p.m., at Superior Jr./Sr. High School, 1500 Panther Dr., Superior
• Sept. 12, 5-8:30 p.m., at Central Arizona College, 3736 E. Bella Vista Rd., San Tan Valley
• Sept. 17, 5-8:30 p.m., at Ray Elementary School, 701 AZ-177, Kearny
• Sept. 19, 5-8:30 p.m., at High Desert Middle School Auditorium, 4000 High Desert Dr., Globe
• Oct. 8, 5-8:30 p.m., at Queen Valley Community Center, 1464 E. Queen Valley Dr., Queen Valley
According to Mary Rasmussen, Tonto National Forest project manager, “The next 90 days — Aug. 10 through Nov. 7 — are a crucial time for folks to learn specific details about the impacts expected from this mine project.
“We welcome informed, thoughtful feedback about the proposed project as well as our environmental review process,” she continued. “We want to engage with the public to identify the best decision among several hard choices that will affect present and future generations.”
Section 3003 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 mandated a land exchange between the federal government and Resolution Copper Mining. This includes federal land previously withdrawn from mineral entry. Once a final EIS is complete and a decision is rendered, the land exchange will give Resolution Copper Mining legal access to the copper ore deposit.