Monday, September 24, 2007

Water, economic impacts from Rosemont copper mine

Two new reports are out on the proposed Rosemont copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, south of Tucson.

According to a story in the Green Valley News, the Pima County Flood Control District commissioned a report by hydrologist Tom Myers that concluded that depending on depth to pre-mine water levels, the pit would lower the regional water table by as much as 1,500 feet, and would intercept about 650 acre feet per year of flow to Davidson Canyon. A number of uncertainties in estimating ground water impacts were also outlined.

Last week, the AZGS' State Mapping Advisory Committee made detailed geologic mapping of the Rosemont area the top priority for Survey mapping for the state-federal Statemap cooperative program. The committee believes the map can be used to provide more realistic geologic controls on aquifer modeling in the area among other uses.

A second report was released by the Marana-based Western Economic Analysis Center. The Rosemont project is projected to create 500 jobs averaging $20-25 per hour, and put $256 million annually into the Pima County economy for the next 19 years.

Overall, the mine would produce 2,950 jobs and $488 million annually in Arizona, and $2.3 billion to the national economy, with $43 billion directly and indirectly.

Pima County officials are reported as saying the loss in tourism and diminishing of the areas appeal would be greater than those benefits.

[right: Rosemont mine proposed plan map, courtesy Augusta Resources]

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