Patagonia Mining Threats
Patagonia Area Mining and Mineral Drilling Exploration Proposals:
The Patagonia, Arizona area is presently the location of MULTIPLE proposed mining and mineral explorations from foreign mining companies with plans for open pit mines on the Coronado National Forest in eastern Santa Cruz County, Arizona. These projects 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 Creek waterways. They are the source of our water, clean air and the biological wealth drives our local economy.
The following is a summary of the current foreign mining companies with mining proposals on public land in the Patagonia Mountains. Click the mining company name for more detailed information.
Sunnyside Proposed Exploratory Mineral Drilling Project for Copper: Amended Decision Memo issued Sept 12, 2014.
1/9/2015 The Forest Service has withdrawn its approval of the Sunnyside project. No drilling activity may take place until a new decision is issued. The Forest Service plans to consult further with US Fish and Wildlife and will issue a new decision after concluding any further analysis. Read USFS letter of withdrawal.
The Sunnyside proposal was issued a Categorical Exclusion, allowing the Project to begin September, 2014. Note: No drilling or digging by Regal Resources has started to date.
PARA and Defenders of Wildlife filed complaint against the Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service for approval of Sunnyside mineral drilling project by Regal Resources in the Patagonia Mountains.
Press Release: October 29, 2014 Conservationists turn to the Courts to Battle Mining in Patagonia on behalf of Imperiled Wildlife and Local Residents.
Hermosa Proposed Mineral Exploration Project for Silver and Manganese:
The Hermosa Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) publication released March 7, 2014. The Hermosa draft EA is available online at the Forest Service project webpage: http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/nepa_project_exp.php?project=41158.
The objection period for all who previously commented during any Hermosa public comment period, is expected to start July 2015. Decision and project start date is expected in October 2015.
Tell the Coronado National Forest that a full Environmental Impact Statement is necessary when considering Wildcat Silver / Arizona Minerals Inc proposed Hermosa mineral drilling exploration project. Sign Petition here.
Press Release: Hermosa mine proposal could deplete southeast Arizona town’s drinking water aquifer. Peer-reviewed report outlines Hermosa mine’s risks of water over-consumption, perpetual water pollution to Patagonia area.
CH Proposed Exploratory Mineral Drilling Project for Copper and Gold.
Bullrun Investments/Sulfate Resources
Javelina Proposed Exploratory Mineral Drilling Project for Copper and Potash on Red Mountain.
Current status is listed as CANCELLED on their USFS project page.
Providencia Proposed Exploratory Mineral Drilling Project for Copper. OZ has withdrawn their mineral exploration proposal, according to the Forest Service website.
In March 2011, Oz Minerals Exploration filed a proposed Plan of Operation with the US Forest Service to do exploratory drilling for copper mineralization in the Guajolote Flat and Providencia Canyon area of the Patagonia Mountains. The Oz project has been delayed since our lawsuit in December 2011 was brought against the Forest Service regarding a FS decision on another mining exploration project in the Patagonia Mountains.
Land claimed by these mines encompass approximately 26,000 acres in the US Coronado National Forest just south of the town of Patagonia.
The Concern of Mining in Patagonia, Arizona
Patagonia Mining Threats: The Patagonia, Arizona area is presently the location of MULTIPLE proposed mining and mineral explorations from foreign mining companies with plans for open pit mines on our public lands. These projects are within ten miles of our town center and located in and around the origins of our community’s drinking water. PARA recognizes that the health and economic prosperity of our community of Patagonia is tied deeply to the well-being of the Patagonia Mountains and the Sonoita Creek watershed. They are the source of our water, clean air and the centerpiece for the tourism that drives our local economy.
The open pit mines proposed by these foreign mining companies are highly mechanized and of enormous scale, involving thousands of acres. It is very different from Patagonia’s historical mining days when folks were digging holes around Red Mountain with a pick and a mule to haul ore. Many of the workers in the modern mining workforce have highly specialized skills and follow jobs from mine to mine. Although entry-level positions are always created during the construction phase of a new open pit mine, these jobs are relatively short-term.
When thinking about the potential for jobs, we have to consider our tourism-based economy. These sustainable 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.* As more public lands across our country are sacrificed to the extraction industries – mining, oil and gas exploration, etc., our area has the potential to become even more of a draw for eco-tourism as one of the last best places to enjoy and recreate on our public lands.
Open pit mining is the creation of one toxic industry at the expense of everything else–especially our water.
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!