2013 Patagonia News

Local, State, and National News that affects the Patagonia, Arizona Area

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2013 Patagonia News Archives

 

Gayle Hartmann: 5 facts to keep in mind about the proposed Rosemont Mine

The U.S. Forest Service has announced the publication of the final Environmental Impact Statement and the Draft Record of Decision for the proposed Rosemont open-pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson. In the face of this development, we, members of Save the Scenic Santa Ritas Association, offer five key facts: Arizona Daily Star 12/28/2013

 

Christmas count turns up low number of birds

This year’s record-low number of birds found during the Dec. 19 Patagonia Christmas count has tabulators scratching their heads as to what might be causing the reductions in Santa Cruz County. “Count numbers were the lowest they have been since I began compiling in 2005,” said bird count participant Tom Arny. “How much of that is due to drought? How much is due to fire in the Patagonia Mountains? That’s hard to say.” Weekly Bulletin 12/25/2013

 

The Coronado on Track One; EPA on Track Two

The Forest Service has a Proposed Final Environmental Impact Statement posted on their website and they’ve issued a draft record of decision (ROD) in favor of the “Barrel Alternative” for the Augusta Resource Rosemont mine on the grounds that they have no choice. Coronado Supervisor Jim Upchurch is frank that Cienega Creek and groundwater levels will be impacted, but the 1872 Mining Act and 20th century updates guides his hand. On January 1, a 45 day comment period on the EIS will be provided for those who commented on the earlier scoping and draft EIS documents. Wick Communications Environmental Blog 12/23/2013

 

Upchurch, other federal officials answer questions on the Rosemont Mine

Coronado National Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch answered questions at a news conference about the Rosemont Mine. He spoke while sitting in front of a tall stack of documents that included the final environmental impact statement and the draft Rosemont decision. The decision tentatively approves the Barrel Alternative, a proposed layout for the mine that puts all mine tailings and waste rock in upper Barrel Canyon, a tributary to Davidson Canyon, and the lower end of Wasp Canyon, and forbids mine waste disposal in environmentally richer McCleary Canyon. He was flanked by a host of other officials seated at a rectangular-shaped table. Arizona Daily Star 12/22/2013

 

Adam Minter follows your garbage to China

Few writers get their start in the scrap-metal world. But early on, Adam Minter saw a great story in his family’s north Minneapolis scrap business. As a boy, he sorted materials, watched his father cut deals, and sat by his grandmother’s side as she monitored employees and interacted with people who came in to sell everything from dead cars to metal shavings to aluminum cans — sometimes weighted with hidden rocks. The recycling industry has a long and fascinating history, propelled by necessity and innovation, poverty and piles of money, and savvy characters understand exactly how much money is hidden in our trash. MinnPost 12/20/2013

 

White House council refereeing Rosemont Mine debate

A White House advisory body is now informally involved in the contentious Rosemont Copper Mine dispute. The White House’s Council on Environmental Quality is, in a sense, acting as a referee among various federal agencies that have taken different positions on the mine, Coronado National Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch said. Arizona Daily Star 12/17/2013

 

Drive to mine uranium in Va. comes to quiet pause

A Virginia company is suspending its campaign to mine one of the world’s largest known deposits of uranium ore, concluding that Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe’s opposition presents a significant challenge over the next four years. Richmond Times-Dispatch 12/16/2013

 

Forest Service: Rosemont will hurt air, reduce water flows but can’t be denied

The Rosemont Mine could worsen air quality in Saguaro National Park, disturb cultural resources — including human burial sites — and reduce water flows into Davidson Canyon and Cienega Creek, said the U.S. Forest Service. The “No Action” alternative is the environmentally best alternative among six proposals for the mine site currently before the Forest Service, the agency said Friday. Arizona Daily Star 12/14/2013

 

Forest Service will allow Rosemont, but mine is still not a sure thing

The U.S. Forest Service will issue a draft decision today approving the proposed Rosemont Mine in the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson. The decision is a huge step forward for the mine and Rosemont Copper, although it still doesn’t make the mine a sure thing. The decision comes with key issues unresolved about impacts to neighboring streams, water quality and environmental mitigation, and about the mine’s ability to meet the federal Clean Water Act. But Forest Service officials say its decision will at least enable the mine to meet federal and state environmental laws. Arizona Daily Star 12/13/2013

 

Paton’s Birder Haven to be sold

A residence in Patagonia — where bird-watchers have come for decades to spot species such as the sought-after violet-crowned hummingbird in the backyard — will be sold by the owners and managed by the Tucson Audubon Society. Arizona Daily Star 12/13/2013

 

Tech could change face of mining jobs at Resolution Copper

But those jobs are not likely to be the jobs that built Superior and other towns in Arizona’s historic Copper Corridor, where culture and economies are closely tied to the copper-mining industry. The generations of traditional mining experience in Superior may not be of much use as Resolution, like mines around the world, turns to robotics. TucsonSentinel.com 12/12/2013

 

Western governors show wildlife maps

Governors in 16 states unveiled a high-tech wildlife-habitat-mapping project Thursday that they hope will encourage economic development across the West while protecting the region’s environmental treasures. The ambitious effort is winning praise from conservationists and the energy industry. Arizona Daily Star 12/12/2013

 

Major tree clearing, timber sale planned for Rosemont Mine

Close to 300,000 trees, mostly junipers and oaks, would likely be cleared on public land in the Santa Rita Mountains if the proposed Rosemont Mine is built. Clearing those trees will be controversial, but at this moment, it’s not known what will happen to them afterward. The U.S. Forest Service will charge Rosemont Copper for any cut trees removed from the site, and those proceeds will go to the federal Treasury. The trees, which are common, aren’t legally protected. Arizona Daily Star 12/10/2013

 

Nature Report: Wildlife Value

Wildlife has a tremendous economic value and a recent report by the United States Fish and Wildlife service highlights the value of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge to the economy of the Rio Grande Valley. Nearly, 30 million dollars in local economic benefits was generated by the refuge on a budget of $801,000 or roughly $37 for every $1 in budget expenditures. Nationwide the country’s 560 national wildlife refuges pump $2.4 billion into the economy and support more than 35,000 private-sector jobs. Valley Central 12/9/2013

 

Seeking copper, Canada’s PolyMet offers Minnesota jobs and water pollution

Project to mine world’s largest copper-nickel deposit promises at least 500 years of contamination, according to report. Al Jazeera America 12/6/2013

 

Beginning of the end, or end of the beginning for Rosemont Copper mine permit?

The U.S. Forest Service Dec. 16 is expected to release its draft decision on the Rosemont Copper mine, triggering a series of comment and response periods that may prove to be the end of more than eight years of regulatory review and the start of mining, or the start of a new phase of debate that will be conducted in front of a federal judge. Inside Tucson Business 12/5/2013

 

PARA Receives Non-Profit Status

The Patagonia Area Resource Alliance (PARA) has recently been granted 501(c)(3) status by the IRS, which allows PARA to directly receive tax deductible donations. This is another step in PARA’s on-going mission to protect the natural resources of the Patagonia area. Patagonia Regional Times 12/5/2013

 

Copper mining company poised to sue Arizona town for $403M

A Canadian mining company is poised to sue the Town of Florence for $403 million in the combative dispute over a proposed copper mine 60 miles southeast of Phoenix. Vancouver-based Curis Resources Ltd. and the town have been battling over the Florence Copper Project, a copper pumping project proposed by the Canadian company. Phoenix Business Journal 12/3/2013

 

“Women in Mining” event challenged by “Women resisting Mining”

An event in London this evening promoting women in the mining sector is being challenged by organisations and individuals highlighting inspirational women from around the world who are engaged in resisting the ecological and social devastation caused by mining projects. The event is part of the annual “Mines and Money” conference held in London. Press release: London Mining Network and Gaia Foundation 12/3/2013

 

Mountains of Faith? The Church Takes on Large-Scale Mining

Faith and large-scale mining have something in common: they both move mountains. On many occasions, the Church has been an obstacle to industry’s efforts to expand into Latin American countries. A growing movement links spirituality, environmental struggles, and resistance to large-scale mining. The first message Pope Francis gave minutes after arriving in Brazil some months ago was: “I don’t have silver or gold, but I bring with me the most precious gift: Jesus Christ!” NACLA 12/2/2013

 

Worst Raw-Material Slump Since ’08 Seen Deepening: Commodities

The commodity slump that spurred bear markets in everything from gold to corn to sugar this year will deepen by the end of December as prices head for their first annual loss since 2008, if history is any guide. Bloomberg 12/2/2013

 

Rosemont meets almost all environmental laws, final federal report says

The Forest Service laid much of the groundwork Friday for approval of the Rosemont Mine by releasing a final environmental report saying essentially that while the mine will cause negative impacts, it’s now clearly in line with nearly all environmental laws. But the final environmental impact statement also shows that legal uncertainties and significant differences of opinion among agencies remain in the way of the mine’s approval. Arizona Daily Star 11/30/2013

 

Rosemont final EIS – when?

It will be released on the Web on Friday, said Jim Upchurch, the Coronado National Forest supervisor. Upchurch said Tuesday that he has been negotiating with other agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency in hopes of coming up with an agreement on some basic questions on how to resolve key issues, so the final Rosemont Mine environmental impact statement can be released. Wednesday, he said it will be posted on Friday. Arizona Daily Star 11/26/2013

 

Patagonia Mining

Greg Lucero, VP for Sustainable Development at Wildcat Silver; and Jenny Neely, staff member at Sky Islands Alliance; address issues with mining in the Patagonia community. AZ Illustrated 11/25/2013

 

EPA: Rosemont shouldn’t get federal permit to build mine

The Environmental Protection Agency — which has veto power over a key permit needed by the Rosemont Mine — is urging another federal agency not to approve that permit. EPA regional water chief Jane Diamond has written to the Army Corps of Engineers that Rosemont’s application for a federal Clean Water Act permit “based on the information currently available … does not appear to comply” with federal guidelines for approving such permits. Arizona Daily Star 11/23/2013

 

Patagonia Group Hopes to Restore Water Flow, Wildlife

Every Wednesday at 7 a.m., Patagonia’s local java joint, Gathering Grounds, becomes an open meeting room for the Borderlands Restoration group. Topics discussed over hot coffee and breakfast include native grasses and the local sparrow population. Arizona Public Media 11/22/2013

 

EPA and Grijalva Point Out the Obvious: “If Augusta has Better Data, Let’s See it”

US Congressman Raul Grijalva chimed in this morning with his own statement in support of SSSR and the EPA finding, and pointing out a story published last year in the Tucson Weekly. Grijalva has publicly agreed with Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, a local advocacy group, that not enough scientific analysis has been done to justify building the mine. The Tucson Weekly 11/21/2013

 

SSSR: EPA Recommends Against Federal Water Permit for Rosemont Mine

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has dealt a dramatic and potentially devastating blow to Augusta Resource Corporation’s proposal to build the Rosemont mine, a massive open-pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains just south of Tucson. The Business Journals 11/20/2013

 

EPA: Rosemont plan would mean ‘significant degradation’

The Rosemont Copper mine would cause “significant degradation” of aquatic ecosytems in Southern Arizona that would be unacceptable under federal law, the Environmental Protection Agency told the Army Corps of Engineers in a Nov. 7 letter released Wednesday. Sahuarita Sun 11/20/2013

 

Augusta Resource’s cash reserves plummet to less than $1 million with $83 million loan repayment looming next July

Augusta Resource Corporation’s cash reserves fell to $749,000 at the end of September, forcing the parent company of Rosemont Copper Company to sell $10 million in bonds to its chairman and a major shareholder to provide working capital to the keep the company operating through the end of this year. Rosemont Mine Truth 11/15/2013

 

House vote on Resolution Copper mine put off indefinitely

Plans to build North America’s largest copper mine near Superior were dealt a major blow Wednesday when congressional supporters of the project canceled a vote on their bill after a strong lobbying effort against the mine by Native American tribes throughout the nation. Republic Washington Bureau 11/13/2013

 

BioteQ places its Bisbee plant on furlough indefinitely

BioteQ Environmental Technologies Inc. has placed its idled copper recovery facility in Bisbee, Ariz. on indefinite furlough because of poor financial returns. The Vancouver-based developer of industrial wastewater treatment technology and its 50/50 joint venture partner Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold have also agreed that the plant shall not restart under the existing operating arrangement. Business Information Group 11/11/2013

 

Rosemont, Game and Fish reach wildlife conservation agreement

The Arizona Game and Fish Department will get about $10 million over a decade from Rosemont Copper for land, water rights and wildlife projects to compensate for impacts of the proposed Rosemont Mine, the department announced Tuesday. Arizona Daily Star 10/30/2013

 

Steller: Rosemont’s benefits too short term

When Dennis Fischer started talking about more possible deposits of copper at Rosemont, my ears perked up. Maybe there was some way I could support this mine after all. Over the years, the proposed Rosemont Mine has become the most polarizing issue in Tucson. It seems few of us have remained in the middle, struggling as I have with contradictory desires for the burst of job creation promised by Rosemont on one hand and for preserving precious nearby wild places on the other. Arizona Daily Star 10/27/2013

 

Cuckoos need large, densely covered native trees, researchers say

Make the trees tall, thick and dense, let the water run free — and the cuckoos will come. That’s a big part of what the rare, potentially protected Western yellow-billed cuckoos needs in the way of living space, says a researcher who has studied the elusive birds for 20 years. Arizona Daily Star 10/19/2013

 

Streams near Rosemont Mine site home to rare cuckoos

A rare bird that could gain federal protected status lives and in some cases breeds along three streams and creeks near the proposed Rosemont Mine site, federal reports show. Particularly flush with cuckoos is Cienega Creek, source of a heated debate about possible impacts from the mine. More than 20 cuckoos total have been seen in the upper section of the creek inside the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, and the lower section inside the Pima County Cienega Creek Natural Preserve. Arizona Daily Star 10/19/2013

 

Rosemont Mine still has plenty of obstacles in front of it

Opponents of the proposed Rosemont Mine will have more time to file formal objections under a new Forest Service timetable, but they say more action could occur in state or federal court or within the Army Corps of Engineers. The Forest Service in all likelihood won’t issue a Record of Decision until March after announcing recently that it won’t release its Final Environmental Impact Statement until November. Santa Cruz Valley Sun 10/16/2013

 

Asarco to pay $70,000 for Sahuarita dust violations

The mining giant Asarco will pay Pima County its second round of civil penalties and environmental reparations in three years over tailings dust blowing from its Mission Mine in Sahuarita into neighboring homes. Arizona Daily Star 10/6/2013

 

Federal shutdown takes its toll on Rosemont EIS

When it comes to the Coronado National Forest, the federal government shutdown isn’t just forcing closure of parking lots at Sabino and Madera Canyon and of campgrounds on Mount Lemmon. It’s also halting Forest Service work on the Rosemont Mine’s environmental impact statement. If the shutdown continues for an extended period — which is anybody’s guess at this moment — that means one more delay for an already long-delayed project. Arizona Daily Star 10/5/2013

 

Arizona Mine Inspector’s Office Tries To Climb Out Of Deep Financial Hole

Mining has been a staple of Arizona’s economy for the past century. But recent state and federal budget cuts have put the Arizona mine inspector’s office in a deep hole symbolic of the mine shafts it monitors. The financial challenges come at the same time many mining operations are expanding. KJZZ 10/4/2013

 

October 16 Deadline for Saving the Paton’s Legacy

Marion and Wally Paton have both passed away, but their legacy of welcoming bird enthusiasts to their backyard has informally continued for a number of years now while the family looked for a way to protect the property as a birding mecca. The good news is that the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has contracted with the Paton heirs to purchase the property. Patagonia Regional Times 10/1/2013

 

Knowledge is Power

There seem to be two pre-dominant views when it comes to a renewal of mining in the Patagonia area. One view is that Patagonia has always been a mining town and that the less affluent population desperately needs jobs– which they believe the new mining operations will provide. The other view is that tourism has taken the place of mining as the sustaining industry in the Patagonia area, and mining will bring an end to tourism, will provide few long term jobs for local residents, and will devastate our environment. Patagonia Regional Times 10/1/2013

 

The Minefield

When you go to town or Forest Service meetings hereabouts, you don’t have to be Claude Levi-Strauss to notice broad differences between those who root for mining here and those who strongly don’t. Steering clear of inflammatory language like “class warfare,” let’s refer instead to “perceptible lifestyle differences.” Generalizations are both useful and dangerous, of course. But, please relax and take this little quiz. Patagonia Regional Times 10/1/2013

 

The Glory Bird

What the heck is a glory bird? If you are fortunate to find the unusual, out-of-place bird, lost and blown by storm or just one with a screw loose in its wee brain, then you will get up to 15 minutes of fame as a hotshot birder, and thus, the glory! A glory bird, the blue-footed boobie, normally found near salt water, was recently spotted at Patagonia Lake State Park, and, as of August 21, was still there, feeding off the lake’s fish. Patagonia Regional Times 10/1/2013

 

Paul Green: Long-lasting effects of Rosemont on waterways must be considered carefully

In southeast Arizona, waterways and surrounding lands, including seeps and springs, have a special and unique significance in our regional landscape. They contribute to our safe drinking water, provide places for our solace and recreation, and are home to a wide diversity of animals and plants. Because these “green ribbons of life” have such a high value, we make significant efforts to protect them. Arizona Daily Star 9/25/2013

 

Rosemont opponents get another shot

Opponents of the proposed Rosemont Mine will get another shot at stating their case after the Forest Service announced Monday that it won’t release its Final Environmental Impact Statement until November. Had the report been released before Sept. 27, it would have fallen under old federal regulations that would not have allowed more public scrutiny of the project. The new rules, which go into effect Sept. 27, allow people who have already weighed in against the copper mine to file an objection and have it reviewed by a higher-level Forest Service official, called a Reviewing Officer. Weekly Bulletin 9/18/2013

 

House approves bill to speed mining on US land

WASHINGTON — Republicans in the House pushed through a bill Wednesday to speed up government review of gold, copper, silver and uranium mining on federal land. The bill makes it harder for opponents to mount legal challenges against new ventures and sets a 30-month timeline for environmental reviews. The measure is expected to die in the Democratic-run Senate. Arizona Daily Star 9/18/2013

 

House votes to streamline mineral mining approval

The House on Wednesday passed legislation designed to speed up the federal approval process for mineral mining and exploration, which they said is necessary to ensure the U.S. has domestic sources of strategic minerals. Members passed H.R. 761, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act, in a 246-178 vote. House passage sends the bill to the Senate, but like in the last Congress, it seems unlikely that the Senate will consider the bill. The Hill 9/18/2013

 

In Light of Colorado Floods, New EPA Report Reveals Importance of Wetlands and Streams

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report, Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence, detailing the impact that small bodies of water, such as streams and wetlands, have on larger waterways further downstream. The report looks at the effects of downstream pollution on drinking water and public health. EcoWatch 9/17/2013

 

Rosemont decision delayed

A final decision by the Coronado National Forest on the controversial Rosemont Mine will likely be delayed until March, the forest supervisor said Monday. Supervisor Jim Upchurch said the release of a final environmental impact statement for the proposed mine — in the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson — has been pushed back from Sept. 27 to sometime in November because of “ongoing resolution of issues.” Arizona Daily Star 9/17/2013

 

Town hammers out comment

With less than 24 hours to submit its comments to the Forest Service, the Patagonia Town Council hammered out a letter voicing its concerns about exploratory drilling in the Patagonia Mountains during a special meeting on Sept. 4. The letter, which was significantly shorter than an earlier draft, focused on issues ranging from the town’s water to its roads. Weekly Bulletin 9/11/2013

 

BLM challenges view of mine’s impact on streams

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is intensifying the debate over the proposed Rosemont Mine’s impacts on neighboring streams by bluntly challenging the Forest Service view that the mine probably won’t do major, short-term environmental damage to Cienega Creek. Arizona Daily Star 9/10/2013

 

Massive mine proposed at Oak Flat, sacred tribal land

The planned Rosemont Copper Mine just south of Tucson isn’t the only mining controversy in Arizona. It isn’t even the biggest. About 100 miles north of Tucson, Resolution Copper Mining wants to build a mine in Superior, a town of 2,800 people, that could yield 1 billion pounds of copper a year. That’s more than four times the projected output for Rosemont Copper’s planned mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, which would produce an estimated 243 million pounds of copper annually. Arizona Daily Star 9/8/2013

 

Rosemont’s plans to restore waterways to make up for damage its mine causes

Mitigation plans for Cienega Creek and Sonoita Creek Ranch offer the promise of what company officials call “environmental lift.” Ideally, water freed up from commercial uses would restore landscapes that are now far less verdant than they could be. But both mitigation plans are controversial — so much so that Pima County, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers are unwilling to endorse them. Arizona Daily Star 9/8/2013

 

Forest Service Introduces Wildcat’s Plan

Mining has been on everyone’s mind. People went to the FS information meeting on August 20 to learn that Wildcat Silver—the Canadian investment firm that is currently taking core samples from some historic mining sites in the Patagonia Mountains—has, as expected, submitted a plan of operations to the Forest Service. Patagonia Regional Times 9/6/2013

 

Water is Key Issue at Council Meeting

The out-of-town news media that attended Patagonia’s Town Council meeting on August 14 told their viewers to anticipate “a bruising, highly emotional debate” over whether the town should support Wildcat Silver Company. But that didn’t happen. In accordance with Vice Mayor Andrea Wood’s directive, the comments and audience response covering both sides of the issue were respectful and restrained. Patagonia Regional Times 9/6/2013

 

My Perspective

Following the Town Council meeting of August 14, at which the council heard comments as to whether or not the town should support Wildcat Silver Company’s Plan of Operation, Councilwoman Andrea Wood requested that PRT publish what she has written below. Patagonia Regional Times 9/6/2013

 

Town Plan Amended to Provide Comprehensive Water Study

The Town Council has adopted a recommendation by the Planning and Zoning Committee (P&Z) concerning the protection of the town watershed. It stipulates that the Forest Service request that a comprehensive water study be completed prior to use of the water from its watershed by any mining or other industrial operation. Patagonia Regional Times 9/6/2013

 

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

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. Earth Island Journal 9/4/2013

 

Freeport hit with violation over July dust cloud

Freeport-McMoRan’s Sierrita operation has been issued a Notice of Violation after a cloud of tailings dust rolled off the mine and across Green Valley on July 27. The notice from the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, issued Aug. 27, says Freeport failed to take necessary measures to control the dust, which left a film on homes, patios and vehicles, and caused a brief but heavy spike in air quality measurements. Green Valley News 9/4/2013

 

Mayor trashes letter to USFS

The Patagonia Town Council is redrafting a letter to the forest officials after it was literally thrown out by Mayor Ike Isakson during the Aug. 28 regular meeting. The letter, a draft response to a U.S. Forest Service request for comments on the scoping notice for Arizona Minerals’ Hermosa Project, caused angst with the mayor because it had been circulated with his name on it. Weekly Bulletin 9/4/2013

 

Company unveils plan for proposed copper mine

While a final decision is still pending for Rosemont Copper, the company that wants to open a mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, unveiled their plan to conserve land and water in the area. Company officials say they are committed to making sure there is minimal impact to the environment, as they drill for copper in the scenic mountains. Tucson News Now 8/29/2013

 

CNF meets the public on proposed drilling project

After a similar plan was taken off the table last year, the Coronado National Forest and Wildcat Silver are now pitching even more extensive drilling in the Patagonia Mountains. As part of that push, representatives from the Coronado National Forest (CNF) provided an overview of Wildcat’s proposed Hermosa Drilling Project during a public meeting at the Patagonia School cafetorium on April 20. Weekly Bulletin 8/28/2013

 

Town moves to stiffen protection of watershed

The Town of Patagonia should team up with the U.S. Forest Service and lead a comprehensive groundwater study before any mining operation or other industrial enterprise begins using water from its watershed, according to a new amendment to the Town General Plan. “The study must contain a baseline metal determination and flow rate coming from both drainages. This study should be paid for by the proponents wanting to conduct the industrial activity and the contractor/hydrologist should be chosen by the town,” reads a resolution from the Planning and Zoning Committee that was adopted by the council at its Aug. 14 regular meeting. Weekly Bulletin 8/21/2013

 

State sued for OK’ing permit for future mine

A national conservation organization is suing the state Department of Environmental Quality over its approval of a groundwater permit for the controversial Rosemont Mine planned in southern Arizona. A complaint filed Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court by the Center for Biological Diversity and Save the Scenic Santa Ritas says state officials approved an aquifer-protection plan for the open-pit mine that could endanger streams and wildlife. Arizona Republic 8/21/2013

 

Rare bird spotted at Patagonia Lake

A rare bird known as the Blue-footed Booby that was spotted at Patagonia Lake on Aug. 15 is still giving folks a show. “We’ve been overwhelmed with birders,” said Candy Bowen, assistant manager at Patagonia Lake State Park, adding that the bird has made an appearance every day since the initial sighting. Weekly Bulletin 8/21/2013

 

Why was the Patagonia silver mine meeting so peaceful?

At last Wednesday night’s Patagonia Town Council meeting on Wildcat Silver Corp.’s proposed Hermosa drilling project, the discussion was so calm and civil that I first wondered if I was actually attending a meeting on pet dogs. Then, I wondered if maybe it had been the two rainbows — one very bright, another a bit faded — that had towered over the town late that afternoon before the meeting started. Arizona Daily Star 8/20/2013

 

Economic Analysis of Rosemont Mine’s Impact on Jaguar Fatally Biased

A review by a nationally recognized economist found, among other things, that the economic analysis commissioned by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for its critical habitat proposal for the jaguar relied “exclusively” on information provided by Rosemont that amounts to a “distorted public relations exercise.” Tucson Citizen 8/19/2013

 

Rosemont mine opponents file lawsuit challeging key water permit needed to begin construction of copper project

Opponents of the proposed Rosemont copper mine Friday filed a lawsuit challenging the issuance of a key state water permit needed to begin construction of the open-pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson. The lawsuit, filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, challenges a decision by the Arizona Water Quality Appeals Board (AWQAB) to uphold the issuance of an Aquifer Protection Permit (APP) to the Rosemont Copper Company. Rosemont is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vancouver, B.C.-based Augusta Resource Corporation. Rosemont Mine Truth 8/19/2013

 

Rosemont says construction financing near

Rosemont Copper has signed a letter with a dozen international banks that shows it is close to getting financing to build the $1.22 billion Rosemont Mine project, its Canadian parent company says. At the same time, in an action that illustrates the delicate balance between the mining company’s short- and long-term finances, the parent company Augusta Resource Corp. has reached agreement with two shareholders to issue a $10 million bond that amounts to the company taking out a loan. Arizona Daily Star 8/18/2013

 

Grijalva and Barber: There’s No Rush on Rosemont EIS

Representatives Ron Barber and Raul Grijalva sent a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack yesterday urging the Forest Service to not release a final Environmental Impact Statement on the Rosemont Mine project without addressing several shortcoming.Tucson Weekly 8/16/2013

 

Patagonia mining project controversy brought to meeting

Controversy over a proposed mining project brought dozens of people out to the town council meeting in Patagonia Wednesday night. Wildcat Silver wants to dig about 48 exploratory holes in the Coronado National Forest, conducting environmental studies. It’s a big step to see if a proposed mine would harm the environment. Tucson News Now 8/14/2013

 

Silver-mine venture seeks to drill near Patagonia

Federal officials are reviewing drilling plans for a potential silver mine near Patagonia on public land that the mining company says contains one of the world’s 10 largest known, undeveloped silver deposits. A Canadian company wants federal permission to drill 46 exploratory holes in the Patagonia Mountains about 50 miles southeast of Tucson. Arizona Daily Star 8/11/2013

 

Public Interest Versus Private Greed

The refrain is all too common these days. The democratic and regulatory process circumvented in favor of big business interests at the expense of practically everything else. Think “Too Big To Fail Banks” — the big banks produced record profits last quarter and yet our banking system, regulated with a weak Dodds-Frank bill, has never been at greater risk of collapsing in a heap — with taxpayers picking up the tab if these behemoths fail. Closer to home, southern Arizonans are dealing with a Canadian mining company, Augusta Resource Corporation, that is using its investors’ money to buy political support to acquire permits that would allow it to blast a one-mile wide, half-mile deep, open-pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson. HuffPost Biz 8/8/2013

 

Hermosa drilling project proposed in Patagonia Mountains

TUCSON – The Coronado National Forest, Sierra Vista Ranger District, is seeking written comments on a proposed minerals drilling project, the Hermosa Drilling Project, in Santa Cruz County, Ariz., approximately six miles southeast of the town of Patagonia. The Coronado will host a meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 20 from 6-8 p.m. in the Patagonia High School Cafeteria, 200 Naugle Avenue, Patagonia, AZ. The purpose of the meeting is to provide an overview of the proposed Hermosa Drilling Project including the environmental review process. Forest staff will be available to answer questions. Oral comments will not be solicited nor accepted at the meeting. Sierra Vista Herald 8/6/2013

 

Truth In Advertising

“We Dig Jobs” is a new bumper sticker seen around town. Yet recently released reports state that while employment has improved in Santa Cruz County, there remains a high unemployment rate—so let’s talk about jobs. Around 1960 the last mines closed. Jobs evaporated overnight. While ranching continued in eastern Santa Cruz County, the economy here was rebuilt around tourism. The region became known as a worldwide destination for birders and began to draw people from all over Arizona and the United States because of its significant biological diversity. Building on the strong economic base of ranching and tourism, other industries such as local food production, wineries (USA Today lists this region as one of the top 10 wine trails in the country), ecotourism and heritage tourism are contributing to the economic growth and employment opportunities. Patagonia Regional Times 8/6/2013

 

MINING UPDATE: Public Comment Period Re-Opened

The Forest Service has re-opened the public comment period for the Regal Resources Sunnyside mining exploration project in Humboldt Canyon. This is the same project that had an earlier scoping period back in November 2011. According to the scoping notice from the Coronado National Forest, Sierra Vista District Ranger Mark Ruggiero has “decided to offer another scoping period in conjunction with this formal comment period to ensure that public involvement is current and comprehensive.” Patagonia Regional Times 8/6/2013

 

Forum Proposed in Response to Division Over Mining Issue

At the Town Council’s meeting on July 10, Patagonia resident Carolyn Shafer informed the Council that Wildcat Silver had listed the Town of Patagonia on its website, as one of “Our Communities,” implying that it had received financial support from Wildcat. She said that she was not aware of any money having been accepted from the mining company by the Town of Patagonia and asked that the council tell Wildcat to remove the town from its website. Patagonia Regional Times 8/6/2013

 

Wildcat scratched from agenda, but citizens opine anyway

An item related to Wildcat Silver’s assertion that it financially supports the Town of Patagonia was scratched from the July 25 council meeting agenda. But that didn’t stop pro- and anti-mining advocates from packing the Town Hall anyway. Patagonia resident Carolyn Shafer told the Weekly Bulletin she requested the item be pulled before the meeting because it had rekindled a larger debate surrounding mining. That debate took the focus away from the specific issue she wanted discussed: the fact that Wildcat lists the Town of Patagonia in a community relations section of its website. Weekly Bulletin 7/31/2013

 

Rosemont ruling may miss Sept. deadline

Coronado National Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch is walking a scheduling tightrope for the proposed Rosemont Mine. He wants to make his final decision on the mine by Sept. 27 – after a group of cooperating government agencies comment on his draft of the final Rosemont environmental-impact statement, and his staff reviews the comments. That day will usher in a new set of U.S. Forest Service rules governing how people can object to such projects – rules that would delay a Rosemont decision three to four months and maybe longer. Arizona Daily Star 7/28/2013

 

ADEQ won’t release secret Rosemont emails exchanged with Brewer’s office

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is refusing to release more than a dozen emails with the governor’s office concerning the issuance of the air pollution permit for the proposed Rosemont copper mine. InvestigativeMEDIA 7/19/2013

 

Resident protests town’s name appearing on Wildcat website

Wildcat Silver, currently operating in the Patagonia Mountains, has listed the Town of Patagonia in a community relations section of its website, and at least one citizen is upset about it.Weekly Bulletin 7/17/2013

 

US: Mine no overall threat to jaguars

The proposed Rosemont Mine is likely to kill, harm or harass this country’s only known wild jaguar, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says. But that won’t matter much, the agency adds – at least not in terms of jeopardizing the jaguar as a species or destroying its prime habitat. Arizona Daily Star 7/17/2013

 

Report: Rosemont Mine won’t jeopardize endangered species

The proposed Rosemont Mine has cleared yet another procedural hoop, with a new draft federal opinion saying that the mine isn’t likely to jeopardize the existence of any of nine endangered species including the jaguar or destroy jaguar critical habitat. Arizona Daily Star 7/16/2013

 

Rosemont decision could be delayed by new procedure

If the U.S. Forest Service doesn’t deliver a decision on the proposed Rosemont Mine by Sept. 27, changes in how the agency reviews projects that are scheduled to go into effect could lead to further delays. Coronado Supervisor Jim Upchurch wants the final EIS and a Record of Decision on the mine issued by Sept. 27. That’s the day the Forest Service launches a new Project-Level Predecisional Administrative Review Process that requires more public input. Green Valley News 7/14/2013

 

Tourists, spending on the upswing in Arizona

Although the tourism sector of Tucson’s economy continues to struggle, there are strong indicators that visitors – and visitor spending – are up statewide. New figures from the Arizona Office of Tourism show more than 38.1 million people from elsewhere spent at least one night in Arizona and spent a cumulative $19.3 billion last year. Arizona Daily Star 7/13/2013

 

Birders Mean Business! Arizona’s Watchable Wildlife Worth $1.4billion

Recent studies show that birdwatching is among the nation’s most popular recreational activities, and growing. Why Birding? Ask the 47+ million birdwatchers in America why they love birds, and you’ll likely get a range of replies as diverse as the birds themselves. A new economic impact analysis suggests that Arizonans now have a billion more reasons to appreciate birds and wildlife. Tucson Citizen 7/9/2013

 

Forest Service proposes that Rosemont Mine be OK’d

The proposed Rosemont Mine meets all federal environmental laws, poses no jeopardy to endangered species and should be approved, the U.S. Forest Service said Monday. But that’s not a final conclusion because reports on endangered species issues, tribal cultural resources such as archaeological sites, and U.S. Clean Water Act compliance remain unfinished, cautioned a top service official, Jim Upchurch. In its long-awaited final draft of a crucial environmental impact statement, the Forest Service also continued to say it can’t legally stop the mine if it meets all environmental laws. Arizona Daily Star 7/2/2013

 

Could Jaguar scratch Rosemont Mine plan?

Environmentalists says the endangered cat roaming near the mine is reason enough to stop the project. The mine’s CEO says the cat should have no impact. Video by kgun9.com 6/27/2013

 

Mining May Burgeon in Southern AZ

The process toward mining on public lands is extensively regulated, and must be reviewed by the U.S. Forest Service. Arizona has a major mining industry. In addition to the Rosemont Copper Project, there are several proposals to mine in the Patagonia Mountains south of Tucson. AZ Illustrated Nature 6/27/2013

 

Jaguar roves near Rosemont mine site

A male jaguar has roamed the Santa Rita Mountains’ eastern flank for at least nine months, photos obtained from the federal government show. The remote cameras have photographed the big cat in five locations on seven occasions since October. Three times, the federally financed remote cameras photographed the jaguar immediately west of the proposed Rosemont Mine site in the mountains southeast of Tucson. Arizona Daily Star 6/27/2013

 

Mining sector courts danger if it forgets stakeholders during downturn

Life is definitely bad for the mining sector at the moment. Nearly every day there are announcements of layoffs, cutbacks, mining projects being dropped, and junior explorers that have been gobbled up or are teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. MineWeb.com 6/24/2013

 

Grijalva pushing for fees on mines

U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Tucson and two others are bringing back an oft-tried bill to overhaul the country’s 142-year-old hard-rock mining law and charge royalties for copper and other non-coal mining operations on public lands. The bill would also prevent mining on certain kinds of environmentally sensitive public lands and establish an abandoned mine cleanup fund, paid for by a separate fee on mining companies. Arizona Daily Star 6/23/2013

 

Questions Remain after meeting on mining projects

Although a Forest Service open house on mining issues held June 11 at the Patagonia High School did not end as abruptly as a similar meeting in March 2008, it was still marked by vehement and sometimes contentious opposition to four local mining projects from members of the approximately 200-person audience. Weekly Bulletin 6/20/2013

 

Copper mining economics questioned by Montana economist

Thomas Power, former chairman of the University of Montana’s economics department, warned Northland residents Tuesday to be careful in the rush into copper. At a Duluth lunch forum sponsored by the Friends of the Boundary Waters environmental group, the professor said mining’s economic costs are often overlooked in the luster of a promised boom time. He said many economic reports released around proposed mining projects are ripe with benefits but fail to address costs. That should cause economists, and the public, to bristle, he said. Duluth News Tribune 6/19/2013

 

Save the Scenic Santa Ritas: Augusta Resource Shareholders Meet, Future of Rosemont Mine Uncertain

Augusta Resource Corporation’s annual shareholder meeting in Vancouver, B.C. takes place tomorrow amid increasing regulatory and financial uncertainty regarding its only project, the proposed Rosemont Copper mine in Arizona. Augusta’s working capital is plummeting, its independent auditor has raised doubts about whether Augusta can continue as a “going concern”, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describes the company’s key water mitigation plan as scientifically flawed. MarketWatch 6/19/2013

 

Mining permits discussed at Patagonia public meeting

U.S. forest officials held a public meeting in the historic town of Patagonia Tuesday night to inform people about differing mining companies applying for permits to dig mines in the area. In addition to Rosemont Copper, at least four other mining companies, including Wildcat Silver out of Nogales, are hoping to start mining in the Patagonia Mountains. Tucson News Now 6/11/2013

 

Patagonia mining meeting draws a large crowd

The historic town of Patagonia is being tapped for its silver and minerals. Right now, multiple foreign mining companies are proposing open-pit mines. An informational meeting was held Tuesday night by the U.S Forest Service and town officials, updating locals on mining activity. KVOA.com 6/11/2013

 

Dry news from the water mines

Mike Conway of the Arizona Geological Survey started getting phone calls from realtors several months ago. With the Phoenix-area real estate market heating back up, they needed to know if their clients are looking at land run through with cracks that might open up and damage their homes, or worse. In 2008, a fissure known as the Y-crack became famous when it split open in the wake of heavy summer rains and swallowed a horse southeast of Phoenix. Gaping cracks and collapsing land are the legacies of a century of steadily mining water in Arizona. High Country News Goat Blog 6/9/2013

 

Mine still faces hurdles: Environmental impact, water are key issues

Seven years after Rosemont Copper decided it could make money mining its land in the Santa Rita Mountains, the company could be just weeks from a decision by federal regulators that would help make the plan a reality. But opponents of the open-pit mine, who met Wednesday in Quail Creek, said a decision by the U.S. Forest Service to green light Rosemont would lend urgency to its plan to target mine investors and tap fellow opponents for financial support in what could become a years-long court battle. Green Valley News 6/8/2013

 

When the flames die down, work begins for BAER team

The Soldier Basin area of the Patagonia Mountains is no stranger to wildfires, but roads, grazing areas, and endangered species need special care and all signs of the firefighting effort itself must be removed. That’s where the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team comes in. Nogales International 6/7/2013

 

Escape the Valley heat with scenic road trip in Patagonia, Arizona

Four-thousand feet of relaxation and a community of smiles await you in Patagonia, Arizona. The once booming mining town has developed into an artist haven with galleries, little shops, and a watering hole for locals called the Wagon Wheel Saloon. ABC15 Phoenix 6/6/2013

 

Mexican Grizzly: Forgotten Sky Islands Carnivore, Part 2

Last month, I wrote about how the Mexican Grizzly Bear has become extinct. I imagine that you are thinking, “Good riddance *&%$# man-eating grizzly bear!” Or perhaps you are sad that you will never glimpse and experience the magnificent Mexican grizzly. Either way you’re likely to feel something strong, as such monster-sized carnivores rarely stray far from our primal thoughts. Patagonia Regional Times 6/5/2013

 

Fighting Fire With Fire

Driving by Nogales Airport, there is little remaining evidence of the encampment that not long ago was filled with semi trailers, trucks, tents, and equipment. Back in mid-May it served as the operations center for more than 200 Arizona firefighters who gathered to contain a fire in the Patagonia Mountains. Patagonia Regional Times 6/5/2013

 

Report: Focus on security overshadows economic, other border benefits

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D- Tucson, knows there are benefits to be had from a U.S.-Mexico relationship, but fears the possibilities have been endangered by the hostility that has become part of the immigration debate. “The border lines went from a unique American landscape of people, history, and land itself, to a threat … to something to be feared,” Grijalva said. “Making that transition has affected the border tremendously.” Cronkite News 5/24/2013

 

Crews set their own fires to slow 10,775-acre blaze near Patagonia

A wildfire in the Patagonia Mountains grew to 10,775 acres Thursday, as crews set fire to grass and brush to establish a perimeter around the blaze, southwest of Patagonia. Containment, the measure of how effectively that perimeter has been established, also grew, from 15 percent to 70 percent. “Most of that fire was ours,” said Michelle Fidler, spokeswoman for the team fighting the week-old Soldier Basin Fire. Arizona Daily Star 5/24/2013

 

Fire officials ready to scale back resources

Fire officials are ready to scale back resources now that the Soldier Basin fire is 70 percent contained. The human-caused fire has charred more than 10,000 acres, and tonight, fire officials met with residents. KOLD 5/23/2103

 

Burnout ignition begins on Soldier Basin Fire

Burnout operations are expected to continue throughout the week as crews work to contain the Soldier Basin Fire on the western slope of the Patagonia Mountains. A report from the U.S. Forest Service on Tuesday morning put the acreage of the wildfire at 3,800, with 8-percent containment.  Nogales International 5/21/2013

 

Wildfire burns more than 800 acres near airport

Crews are fighting a wildfire burning approximately five miles east of the Nogales International Airport in a mountainous area known as Soldier Basin. Heidi Schewel of the Coronado National Forest, which is managing the fire, said no structures are threatened and the fire has been assessed as “moderate.” Nogales International 5/18/2013

 

Keeping Track of Our Wildlife

Did you know that the Patagonia Mountains are the home to coati, grey fox, rabbit, deer, skunk, puma, bobcat, ringtail cats, black bear, coyote, turkey, cottontail, javelina and the elusive jaguar and ocelot? Last month, I had the privilege of attending a four-day Wildlife Tracking Workshop in the Patagonia Mountains. The Workshop was hosted by the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance and run by the extremely talented and knowledgeable staff of Sky Island Alliance: Jessica Lamberton-Moreno and Sergio Avila. Patagonia Regional Times 5/12/2013

 

Mexican Grizzly: Forgotten Sky Islands Carnivore

Grizzly. The mere mention of the name is likely to conjure such disparate images as “icon of the western wilderness” versus “bloodthirsty beast.” Patagonia Regional Times 5/12/2013

 

Acid mine drainage ‘enormous public liability’ in perpetuity—EARTHWORKS

A new study recently released by the Washington, D.C.-based environmental NGO Earthworks asserts an estimated 17 billion to 27 billion gallons of contaminated water will be generated by 40 U.S. hardrock mines annually in perpetuity. Forty-two percent of these mines are located on public lands. Mineweb 5/6/2013

 

Nature by the Numbers

Tucson-based Sky Island Alliance recently organized a bioblitz in the Patagonia Mountains, where scientists and volunteers turned out in full force. The data are still being tabulated, but alliance program coordinator Jessica Lamberton is very excited about some of the results. Arizona Public Media 5/1/2013

 

Government data shows mines will annually pollute up to 27 billion gallons of fresh water, forever

Washington D.C., May 1st – A new report released today shows existing U.S. hardrock mines (e.g. gold, copper, uranium) will pollute up to 27 billion gallons of fresh water per year, and cost as much as $67 billion per year to clean, in perpetuity. Based on government data, the report also reveals that four proposed mines could annually pollute an additional 16 billion gallons. Earthworks News Release 5/1/2013

 

Star 200: Southern Arizona’s big companies finding it hard to fill skilled jobs at Arizona mines

A second straight year of dropping copper prices has done little to slake Southern Arizona’s two biggest mining employers’ thirst for new workers.Asarco and Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold say that with copper prices still well above historic levels, they’re continuing to look out of state – and in Asarco’s case, out of the country – to fill vacancies for skilled positions. Daily Star 4/28/2013

 

Gosar bill would stop presidents from creating Arizona monuments

U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar of Prescott has joined a handful of House Republicans seeking to halt the power of the president to create national monuments in their states. Gosar introduced HR 1495, The Arizona Land Sovereignty Act, earlier this month. He tried the same bill in 2011. It would prevent presidents from expanding or creating national monuments through their existing authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906. Daily Courier 4/22/2013

 

Dust storm put Pima County over EPA air-quality limit

High winds that sent huge dust clouds swirling last week caused Pima County to exceed federal air-quality standards for the first time in nearly four years, county officials said. The worst dust pollution hit the Green Valley-Sahuarita area on April 9, causing levels of large dust particles at one monitor to average 450 parts per million over 24 hours, nearly three times the federal limit. Because two copper mines adjoin the suburbs of Green Valley and Sahuarita, Pima County Department of Environmental Quality officials are investigating how much, if at all, the mine tailings contributed to the dust problem in violation of county air-quality laws. Arizona Daily Star 4/19/2013

 

Sonora mine plan raises questions about water, air impacts

A planned open-pit copper/molybdenum mine and sulfuric acid plant near the Santa Cruz River, nine miles south of the border and 20 aerial miles southeast of Nogales, Sonora, has raised questions over potential water and air impacts on both sides of the border. The El Pilar Mine concessions belong to Vancouver, British Columbia-based Mercator Minerals Ltd. Mercator has most permits to construct and operate the facility, including approval from Mexican environmental regulator SEMARNAT. Nogales International 4/16/2013

 

Another low-runoff year may herald CAP shortage

Another year of very low precipitation and snowpack in the Rocky Mountains has spurred another year of low runoff on the Colorado River – the 10th such year out of the past 14. The low runoff means the Central Arizona Project – which provides Tucson drinking water – has a 35 percent chance of experiencing its first water shortage in history in 2016, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials say. Arizona Daily Star 4/16/2013

 

Massive landslide stops production at Bingham Canyon Mine

BINGHAM CANYON — What started as movement measuring only fractions of an inch at Kennecott Utah Copper’s Bingham Canyon Mine became the biggest slide Ted Himebaugh has seen in his 36 years with the company. The slide occurred around 9:30 p.m. in the northeast section of the mine, Kennecott spokesman Kyle Bennett said. No employees were injured, but roads, buildings and vehicles inside the pit have been damaged. Deseret News 4/11/2013

 

Honoring Our Earth, Building Alliances for a Thriving Patagonia Region

A group of over 60 people met at Cady Hall on Saturday, March 2 to attend a Super Citizen Advocacy Workshop about new mining proposals in the Patagonia Mountains. The workshop was hosted by the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance. Patagonia Regional Times 4/10/2013

 

John Davis Treks West

John Davis, a self-described adventurer and conservationist, visited Patagonia in early March. This was one of many stops on a journey that will take him by foot, sometimes bicycle, and even on horseback from Mexico to Canada. His mission is to raise awareness of the importance of wildlife corridors and to try to keep those that still exist intact. Patagonia Regional Times 4/10/2013

 

Vaudeville Comes to Patagonia

Patagonia had two free Vaudeville Shows on Wednesday, March 20. Hosted by local sword swallower Thom Sellectomy (aka Geoffrey Cobb,) the town was treated to an afternoon and evening of fun for all ages. The shows were organized and sponsored by Geoffrey Cobb along with the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance as a gift to the community. Patagonia Regional Times 4/10/2013

 

Canadian mining under fire at home and abroad

Canada’s mining sector failed to book a single IPO in the first quarter of 2013, financing for junior miners continues to dry up, and Canadian miners abroad are facing increasing local opposition. These are tough times for Canadian mining. Mining.com 4/3/2013

 

Audit raises red flag on Rosemont’s parent firm

An auditor for Rosemont Copper’s parent company has put up what outside experts call a red flag indicating significant financial issues that could jeopardize the company’s future.
Officials of the accounting firm Ernst & Young wrote last week that they have “substantial doubt” about Augusta Resource Corp.’s ability to continue as a going concern. Arizona Daily Star 3/31/2013

 

Vaudeville show packs the house in Patagonia

Presented by the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance (PARA) and Patagonia resident Geoffrey Cobb, whose day job is performing as a sword swallower, the show featured magic acts, whip and rope tricks, a ventriloquist, juggling, plate spinning and music. Weekly Bulletin 3/27/2013

 

Augusta Resource’s independent auditor warns there is “substantial doubt” over its “ability to continue as a going concern”

Augusta Resource Corporation’s independent auditing firm Monday alerted investors that the Vancouver-based speculative mining company that is seeking permits to build the Rosemont copper project faces “material uncertainty” about its ability to continue to operate. Rosemont Mine Truth 3/26/2013

 

As Arizona mining increases, mine-related toxic releases grow

Arizona’s metal mining and manufacturing industries produced about 84.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals in 2011, a nearly 34 million pound increase from just two years earlier, the Environmental Protection Agency reported. Arizona Capitol Times 3/21/2013

 

Southern Arizona’s Smoke and Mirror Mine

Vancouver, B.C.-based Augusta Resource Corporation and its supporters continue to play fast and loose with the facts in their desperate bid to obtain permits and investors for the proposed Rosemont Copper mine. Huffington Post 3/21/2013

 

Supreme Court: ESA Trumps 1872 Mining Act: Ruling Strikes Down U.S. Forest Service Approvals of Mining Projects Across the West

WASHINGTON, D.C. March 18, 2013 – Today the Supreme Court let stand a decision from the En Banc panel of 11 judges of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that essentially establishes that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) trumps the 1872 Mining Act. Recreational mining groups had filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking that they overturn the lower court decision, but the petition was denied. YubaNet.com 3/18/2013

 

Mining Patagonia Featured in Film Festival’s National Tour

Mining Patagonia, the film by Michele Gisser that portrayed Wildcat Silver Company’s plan to mine in the Patagonia Mountains, was selected to be part of the 2013 Wild & Scenic Film Festival, which recently premiered in Nevada City, California. Patagonia Regional Times 3/15/2013

 

Trekker visits Patagonia to promote wildlife conservation

John Davis is not your ordinary visitor to Santa Cruz County. For one thing, he lives, when not seeking adventures in the wildlands of North America, in upstate New York. For another, he doesn’t plan to end his 5,000-mile trek, which he refers to as ‘”Trekwest,” until he reaches Frenie, British Columbia. Weekly Bulletin 3/13/2013

 

No more gold giveaways on our public lands

Since 1872, mining interests have made billions of dollars by removing and selling valuable minerals from our public lands without having to pay a cent to the American taxpayer. This is one of the biggest budget loopholes of the modern economy, and it needs to change — especially now — as Congress tries to address the deficit and balance budgets. High Country News 3/12/2013

 

Part of Ariz. Trail may be moved depending on Rosemont Mine

Rosemont Copper has agreed to pay for relocating a segment of the Arizona Trail to avoid impacts of its planned mine southeast of Tucson – but that would happen only if the mine plans win federal approval. The company announced that it would provide up to $650,000 to move a 10.6-mile segment of the 817-mile cross-state trail. The segment is in the Santa Rita Mountains west of Arizona 83 near the proposed mine site. Arizona Daily Star 3/12/2013

 

Outdoor recreation a $10 billion business in Arizona

Outdoor enthusiasts visiting Arizona sites such as the Grand Canyon and Lake Mead spend $10.6 billion in the state each year, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. Those billions of dollars spent in the state help support 103,700 Arizona jobs and generated $3.3 billion in wages and $787 million in state and local tax revenues… Phoenix Business Journal 3/11/2013

 

Environmentalists oppose Arizona copper mine

On a cold winter’s day, with white clouds scudding across the blue sky and patches of snow clearly visible, the rugged desert hills of south Arizona are a spectacular backdrop. And they are the battleground between industry and environmentalists. Al Jazeera 3/5/2013

 

Riva Gold To Be Acquired by Wildcat Silver

Riva Gold Corporation (TSX-V: RIV) (“Riva” or the “Company”) announces today that it has entered into a letter of intent with Wildcat Silver Corporation (“Wildcat”) providing for the acquisition by Wildcat of all of the outstanding common shares of Riva in consideration for 4.7 common shares of Riva for one common share of Wildcat. Tucson News Now 3/4/2013

 

BP roads draw a Congressional bill and much criticism

Environmental groups are up in arms about new roads being built for Border Patrol agents and a local Congressman is taking the fight to Washington, D.C. The Sierra Club recently released a video last week, titled “Too Many Tracks,” documenting the ecological damage caused by thousands of Border Patrol vehicles traversing Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), whose district includes Nogales, introduced the Border Security and Responsibility Act on Feb. 6 to the House of Representatives. Nogales International 3/1/2013

 

It shouldn’t be this hard

Getting information from visiting federal officials shouldn’t be this hard. Standing on a corner on Tuesday next to one of the busiest ports of entry on the United States-Mexico border, dust blowing in my face, I waited for two hours in the midday sun for the powerful people in black SUVs to leave their super-duper secret meeting in the border security echo chamber. I say secret because they did not allow any press inside, outside, or within a few hundred yards of the meeting. Nogales International 2/26/2013

 

PA chief blasts McCain for ignoring CBP needs

Facilitating lawful travel and trade seemed to take a back seat when federal and Congressional leaders visited Nogales this week to see first-hand the Department of Homeland Security’s ongoing efforts to secure the border. Nogales International 2/22/2013

 

Superior Terminates Agreement With Resolution Copper

After years of unmitigated support, the Town of Superior voted on Feb. 21, 2013 to terminate its mutual benefits agreement with Resolution Copper Company and rescinded its unqualified support for the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange, the federal bill crucial to the Resolution Copper Project. CopperArea.com 2/21/2013

 

S.F. analyst offers rosy tidings for copper prices, Rosemont

“I think you’re going to see a lot more activity out of Arizona,” opines San Francisco-based metals analyst Kevin Pull, in an interview with the Investing.com website. He’s predicting continued high copper prices and is high on Rosemont Copper and on Redhawk Resources, Inc., another Vancouver,B.C.-based mining company that controls the Copper Creek deposit in the San Manuel area north of Tucson. Arizona Daily Star 2/21/2013

 

Coalition Opposes New “Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013”

Representatives Paul Gosar (R, AZ District 4) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D, AZ District 1) re-introduced the “Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013,” formerly H.R. 1904 in the 112th Congress. “It is outrageous that members of our Arizona Congressional delegation support a land swap that benefits a foreign mega-mining giant over what’s best for Arizona,” said Terry Rambler, Chairman, San Carlos Apache Tribe. PR Newswire 2/19/2013

 

Canadian mining races to the bottom

A new book provides a shocking analysis of environmental destruction and human rights abuses committed by Canadian mining companies abroad—and how we help them do it. FOCUSonline February 2013

 

Toxic releases by Arizona mines increasing

Activity at Arizona’s mines is surging, and so is the release of toxic materials. A new Environmental Protection Agency report shows that releases of mine tailings and other toxic emissions increased 22 percent in Arizona in 2011 – and that’s on top of a 31 percent increase in 2010. Arizona Daily Star 2/10/2013

 

The Great Gray Lady steps up Rosemont coverage

Twice in the past month, the New York Times’ Green blog has run stories discussing the Rosemont Mine, emphasizing that this endless issue is taking on national significance as a final decision date could be nearing. Arizona Daily Star 2/9/2013

 

Major jaguar biologist opposes plan

A wildlife biologist at the forefront of global jaguar conservation is one of the most outspoken critics of a federal proposal for critical habitat for the jaguar. Arizona Daily Star 2/9/2013

 

Point/counterpoint on jaguar critical habitat

In Saturday’s Star (2-9-2012), I had an article on noted jaguar biologist Alan Rabinowitz’s fierce opposition to the proposed jaguar critical habitat that would span 838,000 acres in Southern Arizona and Southwest New Mexico. Arizona Daily Star 2/8/2013

 

Do we need Rosemont’s copper? A look at production, recycling and our future

On a chilly southern Arizona morning, a white van bounces along a narrow dirt road bordered by prickly pear and mesquite. The Santa Rita Mountains slope upward a mile in the distance, curving gently inward to form an ancient amphitheater. Inside the van, geologist Jeff Cornoyer talks to a small tour group as he drives, struggling to be heard over the roar of the van’s heater. “Below this surface covering, there are 7 billion pounds of copper,” he says. Green Valley News 2/6/2013

 

Mine operators win Canyon fight

Conservationists and tribes challenging a uranium mine north of the Grand Canyon were rejected by a federal appeals court Monday, but their argument over mining plans that are decades old is expected to resurface as companies look to resume similar operations. Environmentalists and Native American groups had sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, saying the agency relied on an out of date and inadequate environmental analysis in allowing the Arizona 1 Mine to operate. Casa Grande Dispatch 2/5/2013

 

How to clean up abandoned mines — without landing in court

Peter Butler’s late October tour of abandoned hardrock mines began high on Red Mountain Pass near Silverton, Colo., off a highway so narrow that, in places, its shoulder crumbles off cliffs. Butler, a water wonk with springy silver curls, is the co-coordinator of the Animas River Stakeholders Group, a local watershed group, which has been cleaning up abandoned mines for 18 years. High Country News 2/4/2013

 

Arizona Mining Project Wins Crucial Permit

A Canadian mining company has come one step closer to building a mile-wide, half-mile-deep open-pit copper mine on public land 30 miles south of Tucson. On Thursday, Arizona’s Department of Environmental Quality granted Rosemont Copper, a subsidiary of Augusta Resource of Vancouver, a crucial air quality permit, saying emissions from the proposed mine would not violate federal standards for carbon monoxide, nitrogen and sulfur dioxide, or fine and large particles. New York Times 2/4/2013

 

No USFS Rosemont timetable yet

This week’s Arizona Department of Environmental Quality decision to grant Rosemont Copper an air quality permit is not going to be followed immediately with a U.S. Forest Service decision on the proposed mine’s environmental document.
Coronado National Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch said Friday that the service is reviewing just-received computerized air quality modeling on the mine’s effects on visibility in national parks and wilderness areas. Arizona Daily Star 2/2/2013

 

Statement of Save the Scenic Santa Ritas on Rosemont Air Permit

Below is the statement of Gayle Hartmann, President of Save the Scenic Santa Ritas (SSSR) regarding the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s (ADEQ’s) decision to issue the air quality permit for the proposed Rosemont Copper mine. Save the Scenic Santa Ritas News Release 2/1/2013

 

Rosemont gets key air permit from state

Rosemont Copper now has one of the most hotly contested permits – although not the last needed – for it to operate a mine southeast of Tucson. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality announced Thursday that it issued the company an air-quality permit. ADEQ said its review of Rosemont Copper’s computerized air pollution forecasts found the mine’s emissions would not violate any federal air standards for carbon monoxide, nitrogen and sulfur dioxide, or fine and large particles. Arizona Daily Star 2/1/2013

 

Bad Habitat: Critics call Arizona Game and Fish antiquated and anti-predator

In an era when life splashes spontaneously across YouTube, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission is still grappling with dot-matrix. Consider that the commission does not stockpile digital videos of its monthly meetings, where sweeping management decisions about Arizona’s wildlife are pondered. Tucson Weekly 1/31/2013

 

Choke Hold: AZ Grants Air Permit for a Noxious Mine Project

The Canadian investment company Augusta Resource Inc. announced today that it has received an air quality permit from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality for a strip mine in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson. Tucson Weekly 1/31/2013

 

Top potash producers pay $100m to settle antitrust claims

The big three North American potash producers – Agrium (NYSE:AGU), Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (TSX:POT) and Mosaic Co. (NYSE:MOS) – have settled anti-trust claims in the US without admitting any wrongdoing. Potash Corp and Mosaic will each pay around $44 million, while Agrium agreed to a $10 million payment. Mining.com 1/31/2012

 

Mining concern to pay $60K fine for Marana spill

An Asarco mining operation has agreed to pay a $60,000 fine and take preventive steps valued at $50,000 to resolve water-quality violations caused by a June 2010 pipeline spill at the Silver Bell Copper Mine near Marana, state regulators said Tuesday. The consent judgment against Silver Bell Mining LLC follows a $170,000 fine the company paid in 2009 to settle similar charges at the same site. Arizona Daily Star 1/30/2013

 

“PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN”

We have a new contender on the scene vying for the title of “the Great Wizard”. The new contender is none other than the new entrants into the mining industry. Their stock in trade is not production or product of any tangible asset but more in the area of control of our National and State public lands. They have found levers and cranks and wheels to turn to produce the magic show and dazzle the American citizens, politicians and businessmen. Tucson Citizen 1/29/2013

 

IN MY VIEW: Some good news on Rosemont

Those of us who oppose the big hole in the ground planned by Augusta Resource Corp. a.k.a Rosemont Copper, received a ray of hope in an article published in the recent Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club’s newsletter. The final approval by the U.S. Forest Service has again been delayed due to the accidental discovery of the endangered jaguar establishing a pattern of occupancy near the proposed mine site. Green Valley News 1/26/2013

 

Rosemont Copper mine’s fate may hinge on Jaguar

The appearance of the jaguar near the mine site has now given the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service a critical role in the ultimate fate of the copper project. The Service is in the process of establishing critical habitat for the endangered jaguar. Rosemont Mine Truth 1/24/2013

 

Hurdles Remain for Jaguar Habitat

Last fall, remote cameras in a rugged expanse of desert grasslands in Southern Arizona captured arresting images of a jaguar slinking through the underbrush, its yellow eyes fixed on some distant sight. The photos add to the dozen or so documented sightings of the endangered cat on American soil in the last century. New York Times 1/23/2013

 

Big Cat Makes A Comeback!

The good news? The big cat is back.Last month, research cameras revealed the presence of a healthy male jaguar less than forty miles south of Tucson, Arizona. Wildlife lovers celebrate his arrival. Developers, however, who are busily eyeing his habitat for the copper beneath, are not so thrilled. Having an endangered species nearby could delay their already controversial project. Defenders of Wildlife Blog 1/22/2013

 

Plants Adapt to Drought But Limits Are Looming, Study Finds

An international research team including UA rangeland ecologists has discovered that plants’ demand for water fluctuates depending on how much water is available. However, this resilience has a limit, and prolonged drought conditions threaten the survival of these plant communities. UANews 1/22/2013

 

EPA, Sen. Udall launch push to clean up West’s toxic mines

A recent tweak in federal environmental policy — done after years of prodding by U.S. Sen. Mark Udall — aims to break a legal impasse that for decades has let widespread contamination of watersheds continue. There are more than 100,000 old mines around the West poisoning headwaters of 40 percent of rivers. The Denver Post 1/20/2013

 

Regal Announces Underground Sampling Results

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA-Regal Resources Inc. (the “Company” or “Regal”) (CNSX:RGR) is pleased to announce the completion of an underground sampling and geologic mapping program on the company’s 100% owned Sunnyside property in Santa Cruz county, Arizona. This initial phase of the work program focused on 17 historic open adits and 8 shaft dumps. Marketwire 1/17/2013

 

EPA Toxics Release Inventory Report provides Alaska residents with information on chemical releases

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published the 2011 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, providing information to communities about chemical releases to air, water and land across the nation. Due to extensive metal mining activity and the permitted disposal of large volumes of regulated mining waste, Alaska had the highest TRI releases in the nation and had a 25 percent increase in releases from the previous year. EPA News Release 1/16/2013

 

A “tail” of two kitties: jaguars and ocelots on the comeback trail

Many people are surprised to learn that both jaguars and elusive wild cats known as ocelots are native Arizonans, and still roam the U.S.-Mexico borderlands to this day.  They are even more intrigued to learn there is a breeding population of jaguars only 125 miles south of the border in the Sierra Madre of Mexico, and that ocelots have been recently documented in the Huachuca Mountains near Sierra Vista. The American Southwest is the original home of these two cats and protecting local habitat is vital to assuring they continue to be a part of our natural heritage. The Range: High Country News 1/15/2013

 

’63 jaguar killing echoes today in habitat debate

LAKESIDE: From 80 yards away, hunter Terry Penrod couldn’t tell what kind of cat he was shooting at.
It was around 7 p.m. in late September 1963, near Big Lake in the White Mountains. The sun was down and the shadows were deep, clouding the animal’s features. He saw no stripes, spots or colors. One shot from his .257 Winchester rifle cut the animal down. Arizona Daily Star 1/13/13

 

1872 Mining Law Is Obsolete and in Need of Reform

In 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant, hoping to spur development of the West, signed a law called the General Mining Act, which authorized prospecting and mining on public lands for precious “hard rock” metals including gold, copper, silver and platinum. Unlike the oil, coal, and natural gas industries that pay a 12.5 percent royalty on minerals they extract, the 1872 Act lets mining companies take “hard rock” metals from America’s public lands for free. Huffington Post Green 1/11/13

 

Wildcat drilling increases Manto Zone thickness in centre of proposed pit

VANCOUVER, Wildcat Silver Corporation (TSX: WS) (“Wildcat” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce the results for six drill holes completed on the Company’s Hermosa property located in Santa Cruz County, Arizona. These reverse circulation drill holes, located in the centre of the proposed open pit, were undertaken to validate certain historic results and upgrade the mineral resource estimate. PR Newswire 1/10/13

 

Explore My AZ: Mountain biking near Patagonia

A varied and somewhat eccentric group of mountain bikers from Green Valley and Tubac convenes weekly to explore new and interesting rides in Pima and Santa Cruz counties. Special for The Republic 1/7/2013

 

A positive step on cleanup of mines

Nearly lost in the year-end rush of news out of Washington was a morsel of good news regarding cleanup of abandoned mines that dot the landscape across much of the West. After years of leading the charge on the issue, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., last month was able to tout progress. Denver Post 1/4/2013

 

Link to 2012 Patagonia News

Link to 2011 Patagonia News