The land swap was approved last year along with a number of other land actions as part of a large defense bill.
The bill traded 2,400 acres of federally owned land for 5,300 acres acquired by Resolution Copper of private recreational, conservation and cultural lands across Arizona identified by conservation and other groups as priorities.
The San Carlos Apaches oppose the mine because of concerns about continued access to the Oak Creek Flat and Apache Leap areas [top right]. Requirements of the land exchange legislation according to Resolution Copper are that:
- The USFS must complete a FEIS before exchange of the lands.
- Resolution Copper will convey 110 acres of company owned land, which will be combined with 697 acres of federal land to create the Apache Leap Special Management Area (SMA). This SMA permanently protects Apache Leap and the legislation requires a management plan be developed with stakeholder input.
- Resolution Copper must maintain public access to Oak Flat Campground (post FEIS) until it is no longer safe.
- Increase consultation with affected Native American tribes to find mutually acceptable measures to address concerns.