The Pinal County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously last week to urge Congress to pass the land exchange bill that is key to the Resolution Copper mine being developed.
H.R. 687, or the "Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013" will have a hearing in the House Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals on March 21.
Meanwhile, opponents to the mine spoke against a similar position being considered by the Globe town council. The Council deferred voting until representatives of Resolution Copper could be given a chance to make their case.
The Resolution copper mine would be underground (vs an open pit like many other Arizona copper mines) at a depth of over 7,000 feet, producing an expected 25% of the nation's copper needs for 40 years. It would be one of the largest copper mines in the world.
But project partners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, the two largest mining companies in the world, insist they cannot go forward until they get access to lands around the Oak Flats area that are excluded from mining by federal law [right, credit Resolution Copper]. Resolution proposes to trade blocks of critical environmental lands they have bought around the state in exchange for a smaller block of acreage over the proposed mine. That trade is opposed by the San Carlos Apaches who consider some of the lands sacred.