Identical bills were introduced in both the US House and Senate by Arizona lawmakers, to authorize the land swap that Resolution Copper says it needs to develop the deep underground copper mine outside the town of Superior. [Right, view of area overlying proposed underground mine. Credit, Resolution Copper]
Resolution cut back its work force late last year, citing the failure to resolve land ownership as the cause.
The land swap would trade federal lands overlying the copper body for a number of other areas around the state identified as key environmental locales. Resolution has purchased those lands and will trade them if Congress approves the deal. Resolution will also create a new rock climbing park in the region to replace the Oak Creek site that is within the mining boundaries.
Resolution listed the key pieces of the proposed exchange:
- Land in and around the Oak Flat Campground, which is needed for our mining operations, will be transferred from the federal government to Resolution Copper. In return, Resolution Copper will transfer to the government more than 5,300 acres of high-priority conservation lands.
- 110 acres of Resolution Copper’s private land transferred to the US Forest Service to protect the south end of Apache Leap.
- The scenic escarpment above the Town of Superior, known as Apache Leap, remains under management of the US Forest Service.
- 3,050 acres known as the 7B Ranch on the San Pedro River, possibly the largest and oldest mesquite bosque in Arizona, transfers to the Bureau of Land Management and becomes a new unit of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.
- The BLM acquires an additional 940-acre parcel inside the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch and Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.