AZ Mining Inc (Wildcat Silver) Hermosa mine proposals. Saddle Mountain and San Rafael Valley in the background, Patagonia, AZ © Glen E Goodwin

AZ Mining Inc (Wildcat Silver): Hermosa

AZ Mining Inc (aka Wildcat Silver) (AZ:Toronto Stock Exchange) is a junior mining company based in Vancouver, Canada. Wildcat Silver recently changed their name to AZ Mining Inc. To add to the name confusion, AZ Mining Inc operates in Arizona under their subsidiary, Arizona Minerals Inc.

The AZ Mining Inc (Wildcat Silver) Hermosa Property is 154 acres of private property comprised of “patented” mine claims 6 miles southeast of the town of Patagonia, Arizona.

AZ Mining Inc has claimed approximately 13,500 acres of public land in the Patagonia Mountains on the Coronado National Forest bordering their Hermosa property with plans for TWO mine projects, open pit mine and underground mine. The Hermosa Central project is a proposed 4,000-foot wide and 1,500-foot deep open pit mine for silver and manganese. Hermosa North West (Hermosa NW) is a proposed underground mine for zinc, lead and silver. 

Read Hermosa Pre-Feasibility Report. See Hermosa open pit mine site plan and view map of mining claims.

The Patagonia Area Resource Alliance recognizes that the health and economic prosperity of our community of Patagonia is tied deeply to the well-being of the Patagonia Mountains and Harshaw/Sonoita Creek waterways. They are the source of our water, clean air and the biological wealth drives our local economy. The PARA mission is to stop new mining in the Patagonia Mountains.

Click for a list of Federally Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Species in the Patagonia Mountains of the Coronado National Forest in southern Arizona.

 

Current Status of AZ Mining Inc / Wildcat Silver Mining Activity in Patagonia, Arizona

 

UPDATE 7/31/2015: AZ Mining Inc (Wildcat Silver) recently announced plans to purchase the 300 acre historic Trench Camp Mine from Asarco Multi-State Environmental Custodial Trust. The Trust was formed as a result of a bankruptcy settlement with ASARCO and tasked with cleanup of the abandoned mine. Mining stopped at the underground Trench mine over 50 years ago, which is located in the Patagonia Mountains adjacent to AZ Mining’s existing 154 acres of private land inholdings.

 

7/13/2015:  The release of the Hermosa Environmental Assessment (EA) and Draft Decision is estimated for September 2015, triggering a 45 day deadline for objections. If you commented on the Hermosa mining exploration proposal, you will be able to participate in the objection process. The Hermosa Final Decision is estimated for January 2016 with a projected start date of February 2016Go to Forest Service Hermosa Project webpage.

 

10/28/2014: Press Release: Hermosa mine proposal could deplete southeast Arizona town’s drinking water aquiferPeer-reviewed report by PARA and EARTHWORKS outlines Hermosa mine’s risks of water consumption, perpetual water pollution to Patagonia area.

 

Corral Canyon ©Caleb Weaver

One site of Hermosa Mineral Exploration Drilling Proposal: Corral Canyon in the Patagonia Mountains.

 

Hermosa mining exploration proposal draft Environmental Assessment (EA): 

Link to USFS draft Environmental Assessment for Hermosa mining exploration proposal. (Large file warning)

PARA Project Summary: Hermosa Mining Exploration Proposal by Wildcat Silver / AZ Mining Inc.

Read report from Comment Workshop on Draft EA of Hermosa Mining Exploration proposal at Cady Hall in Patagonia, AZ. PARA, Jenny Neeley and Sergio Avila from Sky Island Alliance teamed up again to host a workshop on the potential issues around the Forest Service’s Draft Environmental Assessment of the AZ Mining Inc (Wildcat Silver) Hermosa mining exploration proposal and how to comment effectively on it.

Sign Petition to Forest Service calling for a full Environmental Impact StatementTell the Coronado National Forest that an EA is insufficient and a full Environmental Impact Statement is necessary when considering the proposed Hermosa mining exploration project. Sign Petition here.

From the 2014 Draft EA:  “The mineral exploration activities proposed in the Plan of Operations for the Hermosa Drilling Project include drilling 23 geotechnical boreholes, 10 exploration boreholes, 12 hydrogeologic boreholes/monitoring wells, and excavating 16 test pits. These activities would be conducted on 46 proposed characterization sites, 11 of which would host multiple activities (co located exploration activities).

Access to the 46 characterization sites would be from existing National Forest Service roads (some requiring maintenance and a minor amount of reconstruction), construction of 8 temporary access roads (TAR) (2.67 miles), use 10 overland vehicle paths (3.30 miles), and 2 overland footpaths (1.51 miles). These activities will result in a maximum total disturbance of approximately 13.90 acres in the Coronado National Forest.

 

Hermosa Mining Exploration Proposal has impact area of 7350 acres in Patagonia Mountains.

The areas that will be directly impacted in the Patagonia Mountains include Hermosa Canyon, Harshaw Creek, Willow Spring Canyon, Goldbaum Canyon and Corral Canyon.

Hermosa Drilling Project Map

46 site locations activities: 23 geotechnical boreholes, 10 exploration boreholes, 12 hydrogeologic boreholes/monitoring wells, and 16 excavated test pits.

Hermosa Exploration Proposal Location

Hermosa mining exploration proposal encompasses 7350 acres.

 

AZ Mining Inc / Wildcat Silver’s History in Patagonia, Arizona

Wildcat Silver mineral drilling operation

Wildcat Silver former mineral drilling operation on private land.

AZ Mining Inc/ Wildcat Silver has had mining explorations on their private land holdings for the Hermosa project intermittently since 2006.  In March, 2011 they filed a Plan of Operations to extend their mining explorations from their private land onto their bordering claims on public land in the Coronado National Forest. Link to NEPA Scoping Notice from April 2011. The Forest Service granted approval of the drilling project through a Decision Memo dated 10/18/2011.

In response to the Forest Service’s unlawful approval, the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance joined together with Defenders of Wildlife and Sky Island Alliance and went to court in December 2011 to seek a timeout on construction of AZ Mining Inc / Wildcat Silver’s Mining Exploration Project on the Coronado National Forest in southern Arizona. We challenged the U.S. Forest Service for approving the exploratory mining proposal without required studies of how it will impact endangered wildlife and the environment.  View the press release regarding our lawsuit.

The Forest Service officially withdrew its approval of AZ Mining Inc / Wildcat Silver’s 15-hole mining exploration plan on April 27th, 2012. That move sent AZ Mining Inc / Wildcat Silver back to the drawing board.  View Forest Service Withdrawal of Decision Memo

 

At The Helm

AZ Mining Inc / Wildcat Silver was founded by Richard Warke, the same founder of Augusta Resource / Rosemont Copper in the nearby Santa Rita Mountains. In July 2014, Hudbay acquired control of Augusta Resource Corporation and its wholly owned Rosemont Copper mine proposal.

Warke and Augusta’s acceptance of HudBay’s takeover exposes the repeated promises that Augusta was committed to the region as as nothing more than a deceptive public relations campaign.

With Warke at the helm, we can expect the same sort of tactics from AZ Mining Inc / Wildcat Silver as witnessed from Augusta and his other mining companies. See: “A Sardinian gold mine unearths the deceptive business tactics of Rosemont Copper’s top executives,” by InvestigativeMEDIA.

 

We will keep you informed of any developments of this project on this page, in our News Section, and with our e-newsletter.  Use the online Contact Form to subscribe to our e-newsletter. Also, keep an eye on our Events page.

 

What is a Plan of Operation and What’s a Scoping Notice?

Check out our NEPA Resources page here. NEPA is the National Environmental Policy Act and is the environmental review process by which all federal agencies must comply for federal actions that could have environmental effects.

Having your voice heard…

“The environmental review process under NEPA provides an opportunity for you to be involved in the Federal agency decisionmaking process. It will help you understand what the Federal agency is proposing, to offer your thoughts on alternative ways for the agency to accomplish what it is proposing, and to offer your comments on the agency’s analysis of the environmental effects of the proposed action and possible mitigation of potential harmful effects of such actions. NEPA requires Federal agencies to consider environmental effects that include, among others, impacts on social, cultural, and economic resources, as well as natural resources. Citizens often have valuable information about places and resources that they value and the potential environmental, social, and economic effects that proposed federal actions may have on those places and resources. NEPA’s requirements provide you the means to work with the agencies so they can take your information into account.” From the Citizens Guide to NEPA

What do all those acronyms mean??? Check out our handy Glossary of Terms!