Sunday, May 08, 2011

Arizona Legislative Mining Caucus formed

A group of six Arizona state legislators, 3 representatives and 3 senators, have formed the Arizona Legislative Mining Caucus. According to a letter sent to other legislators on Friday, "The bi-partisan Arizona Legislative Mining Caucus will be a forum to educate legislators about the value of the Arizona mining industry and to create sound legislative policies to support the continued vibrancy of the industry. As a member of the Caucus we will pledge to protect and enhance the viability of the mining industry as an economic engine to our great state." [right, AZGS minerals map]

The first meeting of the caucus is scheduled for June 9 in Tucson, with a Phoenix meeting to be scheduled then. The signers are Senators Al Melvin, Sylvia Allen, and Steve Smith, and Representatives Frank Pratt, Russ Jones, and Terri Proud.

In the invitation letter, the organizers make these points:

COPPER in 2010:
• 73,100 Arizona residents had jobs in 2010 as a result of direct and indirect contributions by the copper mining industry
• Provided direct payments of more than $194 million to state and local governments in taxes and fees
• Provided 10,400 direct jobs throughout our state
• Personal income to those workers and retirees amounted to more than $970 million
• Other Arizona businesses received nearly $7.9 billion through direct and indirect payments

• ARPA member companies employ 6,124 workers who provide materials for an additional 112,361 workers in the Arizona construction industry.
• payrolls totaled $552.6 million and taxes and fees paid to state, local, and federal governments totaled $98.9 million.
• industry purchases of goods, services, materials, and supplies from other Arizona businesses were $956.2 million.
• direct output, production and deliveries of the Arizona Rock Products industry was $1.6 billion and the total economic impact was $2.9 billion.
• this information is based on a 61% reduction of output since 2006 due to the current economic conditions.

COAL: The coal mining industry provides over 400 direct jobs in northeastern Arizona. The coal industry injected nearly $109 million into Arizona in 2010. Tribal economies have benefited from $92 million while the State of Arizona and Navajo County have received a combined $17 million in annual taxes.

GEMSTONES: Arizona is the 3rd largest gemstone producing state (est. $2 million)

GOLD: Copperstone Gold will restart production in 2011, and Gold Road Mine started production in August 2010.

POTASH: Although potash mining is not currently being done in Arizona, the Holbrook Basin is estimated to have a reserve of 1 billion tons of potash.

PUMICE: Arizona is the leading producer of pumice and pumicite, leading 6 other states (est. value in 2009 was $5 - $6 million.)

URANIUM: Uranium mining resumed in late 2009 at Denison Mines Arizona-1 Mine in the world class Northern Arizona Uranium District. According to the US Geologic Survey, the district contains an estimated 326 million pounds of uranium—40% of the nation’s undiscovered resource. Mining this uranium would have enormous economic impacts, such as:

• 1,000+ new jobs in Coconino and Mohave Counties
• $40 million annually from payroll
• $14 billion in output over the next 20 years
• $952 million in federal and state corporate income taxes
• $80 million in state severance taxes


  1. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Arizona leads the U.S. in value of nonfuel minerals produced, primarily because of copper deposits. With gold at $1500 per ounce, the Silver State, Nevada, could temporarily bump us into second place. AZ's mineral resources provide much-needed jobs and tax revenues for State, county, and local governments.

    It's encouraging that the State legislature recognizes the importance of Arizona's mineral resources and, hopefully, will take actions to ensure that they are used wisely in accordance with the many laws and regulations that protect our land, water, and air quality. The Federal government seems to be looking for ways to restrict mineral and energy production from Federal lands, including in Arizona. In addition to lost revenue, this means that we have to import these resources from other countries, instead of using our own. That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

  2. Anonymous9:38 PM

    Why don't these legislators ask their constituents what they think about mining. The proposed Rosemont Mine threatens the water source for Tuscon. It will turn SCENIC HIGHWAY 83 into a haul road with a beautiful view of tailings piles. Wildcat Silvers planned mine in the Patagonia's will draw 750000 gals of water/day and threathen Patagonia's water supply. I guess our Congressman have forgotten that we live in an arid climate and have been in a drought for the last 11 years. I wonder if they where to disclose who contributed to their campaigns, we would understand their disire to promote mining.