Thursday, October 06, 2011

Copper debate tearing apart Florence

Emotions are running hot over a proposal to produce copper from underground deposits in the town of Florence, using an in situ leaching process. We've received some of the most impassioned messages we've ever gotten, in opposition to the recovery operation, repeating concerns over water and contamination first raised by real estate developers who fear that the copper project will reduce the value of planned residential and commercial projects. [right, air photo of copper project site relative to developed areas. Credit, Curis Resources]. A recent report by Montgomery & Associates, paid for by the Town of Florence seemed to predict no substantial groundwater problems would be caused by the project but that has been rejected by mining opponents.

In advance of a Florence town hearing scheduled for early this evening, copper company Curis Resources announced it is creating a "multi-year, multi-million dollar economic development, community development and revitalization fund" tentatively named CREED — Copper Recovery Enhances Economic Development. The Florence Blade-Tribune reports that "the fund will benefit economic development, downtown revitalization, community service projects and charitable organizations in Florence and Pinal County."


  1. Anonymous2:24 AM

    Dear Sir,

    I hope you are able to pass along the messages you receive to further convey our message that this community does not want a mining operation to move into our area. Yes, we understand the land was an underground mine forty years ago and they did a very small scale - inconclusive pilot in the late 90's. However, when we purchased our homes - the Master Planned Community Rezoned that land whereas it was not classified as a mine.
    I am a resident and represent a large majority when I state Curis falsly represents themselves in numerous aspects. How is it that we should trust a junior mining company with no history on the word that they are affiliated with Hunter-Dickinson. Yet, Hunter-Dickinson has a legal document filed stating they are not affiliated. Better yet, why does Hunter-Dickinson still have Curis listed as one of their companies? I'll tell you - not many people know about the document Hunter-Dickinson filed. That is pure deception on Curis' part.
    At the first Planning and Zoning Meeting they boasted about that they were mining on state land, to the effect the majority of our community believes they are in fact full-scale mining the state land portion. This is false. They are not mining, as they do not have the appropriate permits. In fact, according to the 26 page letter from the AZDEQ, they have over 88 deficiencies, many hydrologically related. (BTW-They did not share this report with the public as they did with the "State Land Indicates Support Letter.") The State Land believes it is in the best interest of the State Land Trust, financially.
    There was documentation produced at the last Planning and Zoning Meeting whereas Curis would be allowed a 75% tax-break on real estate/property/income tax on this mining site. Additional documentation was presented by the former Mayor (who opposes the project) stating the certificate does not expire and does in fact convey to future occupants.
    In addition, documentation from the former BHP ocupant (who performed the original in-situ small scale pilot) stating there were exceeding levels of chemicals present in the water. They stated the cause as the boreholes communicated.
    Here is the big kicker - the State Agencies take Curis' word on their application. They do not follow-up with inspections - collecting soil samples, etc. (Resteraunts are checked; Day Care Centers are checked; Schools are checked; Businesses are checked)...Apparently, nobody cares about the mines until there is a tradgedy. In quoting Maribeth from AZDEQ, "Nothing good comes from mining."

    Thank you,


  2. Anonymous7:41 PM

    Take a look at mining communities - nobody wants to live next to a mine. I was planning on buying a home in the Anthem community, but will be locating to Gilbert. It is a shame - it is such a beautiful area that continue developing after the hospital opens. I wonder if the people who closed on their houses after the 2020 plan was established could pursue legal matters. I am 99% that the residents there could take legal action. As I understand it - Historic Florence is on a seperate water source. Also, the Town Mayor, Council, and Manager all reside in Historic Florence. That alone is appears as if there is no voice for the areas northwest of Historic Florence. Good Luck and I wish things were different. I really loved walking downtown and attended the church to meet the local attendees. I received a warm welcome, but do not want to risk losing my resale value in the future; risk having a diminisioning water table; risk having poisoned water. You will all be in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Steve1:11 PM

    The mine is going forward on State Land like it or not. All of those up in arms about buying houses and not knowing should have read their public reports a little closer. It says right there you are buying next to a mine.

    The EPA and ADEQ aren't just going to allow something that will poison the water. This is fear mongering at best and those doing it aren't even being honest about it. The tax break info was debunked that evening at the meeting along with scores of other bits of misinformation.

    So, to you folks who are out complaining. Enjoy having a mine in your community but reaping zero benefit from it.

  4. Anonymous9:42 AM

    Actually their operation would be reduced to a fraction of the size. They would also need to redesign their plan, as their equip., leaching ponds, etc. would not be allowed to be on Town property should the Town Council follow the staff and commission overall status of "No - We do not see the mine as being compatible with our Town."

    After reading the article in the Florence Reminder-Blade Tribune, it bothers me that the Curis representative used the word - "assuming - assumed" in reference to the amount of taxes that will be paid. (Beware: When you assume, you make an A#S out of U AND ME.) Basically, if Curis does not use the tax break, the website shows the amount that is estimated to be paid. After the 75% reduction has been applied, that number is drastically reduced. Now how was it "debunked" at the meeting? I was there and watched until 1:30am. Only once Curis produces a document whereas they rescind the certificate, shall it be validated. In the meantime, he is a sneaky Canadian b#st*rd - who will get a 75% tax break from the American Government!
    The truth in the matter is, yes we knew we were located 1 1/2 miles away from a non-operational mine. I read the Property Disclosure Report and found the following:

    1) "This report is NOT A RECOMMENDATION NOR AN ENDORSEMENT by the State of Arizona of this land. The Department has not subjected the application and public report to a detailed examination. The subdivider prepared the report and the Department has verified none of the information in this report; the Department has accepted all the informaiton as true and accurate based on attestation of the subdivider/or the subdivider's agents. The purchaser should verify all facts before signing any documents. The Department assumes no responsibility for the quality or quantity of any imporvement in this development." This statement bothers me, as this is the same information I was told by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality - Mining Division. They take Curis' word on the application and do not verify the information. In addition, Curis is the only people who monitor their site. The State will not come in and collect a soil sample. I believe there needs to be a system of checks and balances.

    2) "Arizona Law States: The sale or ease of subdivided lands prior to issuance of this report or railure to deliver this report to you shall render the sale or lease rescindable by you. Action to rescind must be brought within 3 years from date of execution of purchase agreement." We have owned our first home since 2006, so this would not apply for us. However, we purchased our second home in Anthem in November 2008 and never had this paperwork provided to us. I wonder how many others do not know this information? Also, it does not say how to rescind a purchase. Personally, we love our home and have made a lot of improvements. I would like to use this information to pursue action if the mine moves forward.

    3) Under the section titled "Landscaping/Mining/Manufacturing Operations: ... Merrill Mining, which is closed and not in operation, is located approximately 1 1/2 miles south of the Subdivision." Here it is verified that the mine is closed and non-operational. It hasn't been mined in over 40 years. It used to be an undergound mine, whereas tunnels and shafts were dug and mines brought the ore up to the surface manually.

    I'll keep sharing information as it comes to my attention. I hope you have a wonderful day.


  5. Anonymous1:48 PM

    The residents can file action - I have started a file and will post more information, if necessary. I am pretty sure the Town will vote against the mine, as there would be legal action against all in favor.

  6. Anonymous5:23 PM

    Mr. Allison,

    What is your view of this situation?

    Thank you,


  7. It seems that we need much more information about specifics of the mining operation before we have any idea about its safety.

    For example:

    How close together are the extraction wells?

    How deep do they go?

    Do they make certain that no leachate will escape into groundwater aquifers?

    How will the copper-bearing water be treated to remove pollutants.

    How clean will it be when it's discharged?

    Where and how will it be discharged?