Patagonia Mining Threats
Patagonia Area Mining and Mineral Drilling Exploration Proposals:
The Patagonia, Arizona area is presently the location of MULTIPLE proposed mines and mining exploration projects by foreign companies with plans for open pit mines on public land in the Coronado National Forest of eastern Santa Cruz County, Arizona. These mining proposals are within ten miles of our town center and located in the origins of our community’s drinking water.
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 Creeks. They are the source of our water, clean air and the biological wealth drives our local economy.
The following is a summary of the mining companies with mining proposals on public land in the Patagonia Mountains. Click the mining company name for more detailed information.
Project name: Sunnyside, proposed Mining Exploration for copper.
SIZE: 5900 acres.
LOCATION: From Alum Gulch south to Soldier Basin. See map below.
STATUS: Federal Court Ruled that the Forest Service Decision Memo is vacated. The Forest Service must now complete an Environmental Assessment for the Sunnyside proposal. Link to Forest Service Sunnyside Project webpage
PARA and Defenders of Wildlife won their litigation on September 15, 2015 against the Forest Service for the unlawful approval of the Sunnyside Proposal.
The Sunnyside mining exploration proposal was originally issued a Categorical Exclusion Decision Memo in August 2014. Note: No drilling or digging by Regal Resources has started to date.
Project names: Hermosa Central, proposed mining exploration to advance plans for 4,000-foot wide and 1,500-foot deep open pit mine for silver and manganese.
Hermosa Northwest (Hermosa NW), proposed underground mine for zinc, lead and silver.
SIZE: 13,654 acres.
LOCATION: Harshaw, Mowry, Guajolote Peak. See map below.
- EA On Hold for Hermosa Central. Link to Forest Service Hermosa Project Webpage. The release of the final Hermosa Environmental Assessment (EA) and Draft Decision is On Hold.
- New exploratory mineral drilling on private land for Hermosa NW site.
- Pending purchase of Trench Camp and January Adit old mine sites.
Press Release: Hermosa mine proposal could deplete southeast Arizona town’s drinking water aquifer. Peer-reviewed report outlines Hermosa pit mine’s risks of water over-consumption, perpetual water pollution to Patagonia area.
Project name: CH, proposed Mining Exploration for copper and gold.
SIZE: 1000 acres.
LOCATION: Passage #3 (Canelo Hills West) of the Arizona National Scenic Trail. See map below.
STATUS: Cancelled. Link to Forest Service CH Project Webpage
Project name: Dice #8, proposed Placer Exploration for likely gold, silver, platinum, or multiple minerals.
SIZE: ~300 acres.
LOCATION: ~2 miles SE of Washington-Duquesne, AZ.
STATUS: NEPA public scoping period pending. Link to Forest Service Dice #8 Project Webpage
Bullrun Investments/Sulfate Resources
Project name: Javelina, proposed Mining Exploration for copper and potash.
SIZE: 5680 acres.
LOCATION: Red Mountain, Kunde Peak, Saddle Mountain (north & south). See map below.
STATUS: listed as CANCELLED on Forest Service Javelina project webpage.
Project name: Providencia, proposed Mining Exploration for copper.
SIZE: ~500 acres.
LOCATION: Guajolote Flat, Providencia Canyon
STATUS: listed as WITHDRAWN on Forest Service Providencia project webpage.
The Concern of Mining in Patagonia, Arizona
Patagonia Mining Threats: The Patagonia, Arizona area is presently the location of MULTIPLE proposed mines and mining exploration proposals from foreign companies with plans for open pit mines on our public lands. These mining proposals are within ten miles of our town center and located in and around the origins of our community’s drinking water, the Town of Patagonia Municipal Supply Watershed.
The 128,000-acre Sonoita Creek watershed is the municipal drinking water supply for the Town of Patagonia. Sonoita and Harshaw Creeks and their subterranean aquifers provide the only source of potable water for the Town of Patagonia with over 900 residents and over 300 private well users within a 3-mile radius of town. The shallow depth of the aquifers, combined with the nature of the soils and underlying geology, make the relationship between the surface and ground water watersheds a particularly close and interconnected one.
PARA recognizes that the human health and economic prosperity of our community of Patagonia is tied deeply to the well-being of the Patagonia Mountains and Harshaw/Sonoita Creeks. They are the source of our drinking water, clean air and the biological wealth that drives our local economy.
The pollution and related economic, social and human health impacts on the community of Patagonia would far outweigh the relative handful of jobs created by a new mining. The sustainable tourism jobs will be lost forever if our public lands are permanently destroyed by open-pit mining. In 2008, visitor spending in Santa Cruz County, Arizona amounted to 257 million dollars and accounted for over 2000 jobs. Government revenue generated by travel spending was 13.4 million dollars.*
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!