The Coronado National Forest has scheduled a public hearing on the draft Environmental Assessment on a proposal by Wildcat Silver to drill exploration core holes looking for silver mineralization at its Hermosa project, about 6 miles southeast of the town of Patagonia, in Santa Cruz County in southern Arizona. [Right, location map, courtesy of Wildcat Silver]
This EA is not about constructing a mine. It is only about permitting exploratory drilling.
The Forest Service says the
total proposed disturbance from all exploration activities is estimated
to be 13.9 acres. Wildcat Silver says some of what is counted as disturbance includes lands already disturbed as existing roads.
An informational public meeting will be held on Monday March 24, 2014
from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Patagonia High School Cafeteria, 200
Naugle Ave, Patagonia, AZ. On its web site, the Forest Service announced that the "purpose of the meeting will be to
provide an update on the proposed project, a summary of the draft
analysis, instructions on how to comment on the Draft EA, and a summary
of the analysis process. A short question and answer session and an
open house will follow. Coronado personnel will be available to answer
questions. Comments will not be solicited at the meeting."
However, on Friday, Wildcat Silver announced at the Arizona Mining Alliance luncheon that the Forest Service was now making the event an "open microphone" format, with a first-come, first-to-be-heard agenda.
The question starting to be heard is whether the region's mining opponents will shift their focus to the Hermosa project now that the Rosemont copper project increasingly appears to be on the final path to approval.
The Draft EA is available on-line on the project website at: