Rosemont’s Conservation Lands Program

In addition to mine development, Rosemont Copper has a land conservation program which currently includes five sites in southern Arizona, see map below. Rosemont says the program will “permanently conserve 4,500 acres of open space, and allocate more than 550 million gallons per year of private surface water rights to the public.”

Rosemont-conservation-lands

The following short descriptions are taken from Rosemont’s brochure on the program.  For that brochure and more details on each  property go to: http://rosemontcopper.com/conservation.html .

1. Fullerton Ranch:

Adjacent to existing county conservation land, acquisition of this property maintains open land for hiking, bird watching, hunting, camping, mountain biking and off-roading. While over-grazed today, sustainable grazing to support local ranching can be supported on the property. The property provides a valuable habitat for the Desert Box Tortoise and other species. Without conservation, the property would be subject to fragmentation and development.

2. Helvetia Ranch North:

The Helvetia Ranch North property connects BLM Santa Rita Experimental Range land to the Coronado National Forest. Its conservation ensures an intact cultural and natural landscape, completes wildlife corridor connections, and maintains public access to the Santa Rita Mountains. The Ranch also provides habitat for vulnerable and endangered species like the Pima Pineapple Cactus, the Mexican Long-Tongued Bat, and the Lesser Long-Nosed Bat.

3. Sonoita Creek Ranch:

Located at the headwaters of the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve, the Sonoita Creek Ranch property plays an essential role in the recharging of the Town of Patagonia’s aquifer. Prior to its purchase by Rosemont, Sonoita Creek was poised for residential development. Now Sonoita Creek Ranch and its 588 acre-feet per year surface water right, fed by a perennial spring, will be conserved.

4. Pantano Dam:

Rosemont, working with the state and local agencies, hopes to be successful negotiating projects that will use existing private water rights for the enhancement of an important stream habitat in the Pantano Wash, Davidson Canyon, Lower and Upper Cienega Creek and Empire Gulch. These enhancement projects, both downstream and upstream, would create a habitat for endangered species with a priority water right that Rosemont has secured.

5. Davidson Canyon Ranches:

Each of these is a historic homestead, chosen by the homesteader because of a flowing spring. Conservation of these sites ensures the lands will be kept open rather than developed, preserving public views, numerous archeological sites, and the reach of the seasonal Davidson Canyon Wash that a downstream of which has been designated as an Outstanding Arizona Water.

See also:

The value of mining in Arizona

Distinguishing Fact from Fiction about Rosemont

Future of Rosemont Mine Very Certain

Rosemont answers Cyanide Beach

Pima County versus Rosemont

Rosemont’s dry-stacked tailings will be greener than those near Green Valley

Jaguars versus the Rosemont mine

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10 comments

  1. I’d feel better if they used CAP water for this mine rather than wasting pristine ground water. Appreciate the conservation of open land…

    1. In Southern AZ there is no good water source to supply an operation of this scale without depriving other water users somewhere.

  2. I do not believe any open pit mining project can lay claim to “conservation of land” UNLESS FILLING IN THE HOLE THEY DIG IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THEIR PROFFERED “CONSERVATION” plan. Anything else merely rises to the level of yet another corporate whitewash of the massive scale of their destruction of the environment. Strip mines are filled in back east. Rosemont can do it in AZ if it is made a condition of mining operations. Copper mining done in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Porcupine Mountains was accomplished without any strip mining. They just sunk a mineshaft and brought out ore. Rosemont is completely able to run a similiar operation. They just don’t want to if no one compels them to operate in a responsible way. There’s just way to much politics involved with the attending under the table payments. AZ has some of the best politicians money can buy!

    1. Your comparison of open pit copper mines with strip mines back east or with underground mining operations in Michigan is like comparing apples with oranges.

      Differences in the deposit types, distribution of the ores within the deposit and concentration of the minerals being mined within the ore all make it impractical to do the same at Rosemont.

      Strip mines are generally large shallow pits, which are designed to exact one stratigaphic horizon (i.e. coal bed). Once extracted waste material stripped from elsewhere in the pit can be used to fill a portion of the pit, where the coal seam has already been removed. Large open pit copper operations, like Rosemont, seldom have this option.

      Furthermore, copper ores are unlike coal beds. Once the coal is removed the pit can be refilled. However, copper ores are disseminated throughout the rock. What is considered ore and what is not varies depending on the price of the metals and technological advances. Backfilling open pit copper mines, like Rosemont will almost certainly make extraction of any low grade resources that may remain in the pit uneconomic to mine at a future date.

      Backfilling open pit mines like Rosemont would actually result in more damage to the environment. With the low grade resource remaining in the pit being covered with waste, it becomes uneconomic to mine in the future. With this resource unavailable to them, mining companies would be compelled to develop new mines in less developed areas.

      1. Are you able to provide examples of any open pit mines that are not permanent eyesores and permanent scars on the face of our Mother Earth?

      2. O.K., so is Rosemont’s current game plan to do what has been done in your links when they finish mining operations? Is that something the company is obligated to do as a condition of mining the Santa Rita’s? At the end of their open pit’s lifecycle, Rosemont will undo all of what it has dug up and the mining site will be disassembled, reclaimed and replanted?

      3. Unlike many of the area’s existing mining operations, which were designed and developed prior to the advent of our nation’s environmental laws, the Rosemont copper project has been designed with closure in mind. Rosemont’s footprint and its visual impact will be minimized by commencing reclamation activities at startup and continuing this work throughout the life of the project with an ultimate goal of returning the land to productive use following the completion of mining activities.
        There are many reports available on the details about the reclamation activities that will be done at the Rosemont site.

  3. One need only go to Bisbee via google maps (satellite view) to see the long term results of open pit mining. The Lavender Pit closed in the 1970’s and the scars and tailings are still evident in and around the town.

    1. The Lavender pit and surrounding area still contain mineralization that may be mined some day. The mine is currently dormant but may live again. Read Chris J. Horquilla’s comment above.

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