Is the US Forest Service Trying to Help a Cash-Strapped Canadian Mining Company?

Santa Rita Mountains

Photo by Nate Merill
The proposed mine site in the Santa Rita Mountains is part of an important wildlife corridor that connects southern Arizona’s sky island mountain ranges — isolated mountains that rise up from surrounding lowlands — that are home to unique plant and animal species.

Original post by Maureen Nandini Mitra, Earth Island Journal

Agency has been attempting to speed up decision-making on proposed Rosemont copper mine in Arizona’s Coronado National Forest, say activists

The US Forest Service seems to have been unusually eager to help a Canadian mining company with a dubious track record and financial troubles set up an open pit copper mine in Arizona’s Coronado National Forest. The agency’s efforts, however, might be in vain.

A Vancouver-based mining company, August Resource Corporation and its Arizona subsidiary, Rosemont Copper Company, plan to blast a one mile-wide and half-mile deep mine on 4,000 acres of the Santa Rita Mountains, 50 miles southeast of Tucson. The proposal is being fiercely opposed by environmentalists, local citizens, and Indigenous groups who say the mine would damage the environment, deplete the arid region’s water supply, and hurt the tourism industry that relies on the mountains’ unique “sky island” ecosystem. (Read my April 2013 report about the proposed mine and how it underscores the need to reform federal mining laws.)

Despite serious environmental concerns about the project that need careful study, the US Forest Service released an incomplete draft of its final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for the proposed mine on July 1 and asked the more than two dozen local, state, and federal cooperating agencies to send in their comments within 30 days.

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