Florence Copper another mining controversy

It has long been known that an oxide copper deposit lies buried just across the Gila River from the Town of Florence, Arizona. Now, Curis Resources, a Canadian company, proposes to extract the copper, not by digging a mine, but by in-situ leaching. This process involves pumping a weak acid solution (about the same acidity as vinegar) into the ore zone to dissolve the copper minerals and recovering the solution with extraction wells. The copper-laden solution will then go through a solvent extraction/electrowinning (SX/EW) process to produce metallic copper.

The map below shows the location of the project and the surrounding countryside. Notice that the immediate surrounding land is either desert or agricultural.

Florence1

The mining project is being opposed, not by environmentalists, but by real estate developers. The developers want to do this:

Florence4Homes

The Real Estate developers are concerned that the mining operation will detract from the desirability of their plans. They also allege that water quality will be impacted. The Real Estate developers have formed a group called “Protect Our Water Our Future.” See that link for their side of the story.

Curis Resources claims that because the copper deposit occurs below a clay layer, the aquifer will be protected and the acidic copper-laden solutions will be contained. That is according to an extensive hydrological study. Also they will have a network of monitoring wells.

Curis Resources says that “Over a 17-year life-of-project, the Florence Copper Project has the potential to directly and indirectly support 2,090 jobs in the United States, including: 250 jobs in the Town of Florence; 370 jobs in Pinal County; and 1,090 jobs in the State of Arizona. Personal income earned by Florence area residents as a result of the Florence Copper Project is expected to total more than $106 million over the life of the project.” Curis goes on to say, “direct and indirect economic contributions will total more than $290 million. This includes $136 million in local government revenues, $47.6 million in local business revenues and more than $106 million in personal income.”

To see the Curis Resources side of the story visit their main website here.

Among the Curis data is a community presentation which includes how the area will look during operations and after operations, the economic impact, and the water concerns, see here.

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4 comments

  1. They will have a network of monitoring wells, a corporate shield and backruptcy. Those in the area not involved will have … well nothing.

    Corporations are required by law to maximize returns for the investor – profits – or they can and will be sued, and lose, by investors.

    You failed to mention the one important factor – the profits – which are the only point. No corporation would pursue such a project otherwise. In fact of the all the numbers you mentioned, if they werent minimized, they would be sued by their investors for misuse of funds – meaning the benefit to the community could be higher were profits not the point.

    This isnt a community development project. Its a for profit business with protections the community wont have should something happen.

    Its worth hearing from all members of the community – including other businesses. It may be worth more economically to the community as real estate – did you run those numbers? (Or copy them from a real estate centric article) $290 million versus 4,000 homes probably worth 1/2 billion dollars plus whatever businesses occur in the 50 acre parcel – call it 600 million as a guess.

    1. Corporations are required by law to maximize returns for the investor – profits – or they can and will be sued, and lose, by investors.

      This explains why so many corporations get sued for having community outreach programs. Really, it happens all the time. I’ll let Jim provide the examples of this.

  2. That’s right – what we don’t need in America is more profit being generated.  We can simply use Federal stimulus money to import copper, wood, cement, clothing, consumer electronics and everything else we need.  Heck, we already import the construction workers the developers use to build our homes (several of my friends now have lots of free time thanks to these imported workers).  I’m glad the developers are looking out for us by making sure nobody profits from using land.

    We need them building more houses because there are only about 400,000 vacant houses in Arizona.  And while America imports about 40% of the copper we consume yearly, we know that is clearly not enough.  Why make more copper here and reduce our trade deficit?  Let’s stop the foolish policy of replacing our copper reserves and follow our successful oil policy.  Instead of reducing our reliance on third-world foreign copper, let’s build houses on our rare copper deposits so that the developers can generously volunteer their time to fight profit and add to our boarded-up urban sprawl.

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