Resolution Copper is working with the community as we safely and responsibly develop one of the largest copper mines in North America, bringing jobs and long-term economic benefits to Arizona’s Copper Triangle region.
Here is some important information about the project…
Fact: At this point, the permitting process is behind schedule. Since 2013, the US Forest Service (USFS) has led a rigorous independent review of the Resolution Copper project under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which has included years of public consultation and extensive engagement with a broad range of stakeholders, including Native American tribes and relevant federal, state, and county agencies. The next phase of the process is the publication of a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which took place on January 15, 2021. In the project schedule, initially set by the USFS during the Obama Administration, the target date for Final EIS publication was July 2020. The U.S. Forest Service has said that the new release date doesn't reflect “an acceleration of the National Environmental Policy Act process or the Schedule of Proposed Actions.” Learn more about the multi-year permitting process here.
Fact: Legislation to facilitate the land exchange between the Tonto National Forest and Resolution Copper passed with bipartisan support in December 2014. It was signed into law by President Obama. The Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act is one of more than 80 land bills that were part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in 2014, and members of the Arizona Congressional delegation championed it. The final legislation included important changes based on nearly a decade of feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, including the San Carlos Apache tribe, environmental groups and the Town of Superior. It is the only Congressionally-mandated land exchange bill requiring a comprehensive environmental review under the NEPA. Learn more here.
Fact: In return for transferring 2,422 acres from the Tonto National Forest into Resolution Copper’s ownership, the 5,459 acres of conservation lands from around Arizona will be transferred to the federal government and become part of existing National Forests or National Conservation Areas, providing long-term conservation, habitat and cultural heritage protection, and recreational opportunities.
Input from the USFS, Bureau of Land Management, Audubon and The Nature Conservancy and others informed the selection of these conservation lands. All parcels are going through an independent appraisal process directed, managed and approved by the US Secretary of Agriculture to ensure the lands exchanged are of equal value. If the federal lands' appraised value is determined to be higher than the Resolution Copper lands, the company will make up the difference either through a payment to the US Treasury. Notably, the land exchange legislation creates a mechanism by which the federal land appraisal links to Resolution Copper’s future production. In the future, if the mine’s cumulative production of commercial quantities of minerals exceeds the amount estimated for the appraisal, Resolution Copper must make an annual adjustment payment to the United States. Learn more here.
Fact: Mining operations and active mining claims have co-existed with outdoor recreation, ranching and cultural activities in the Oak Flat area for decades. Resolution Copper works with all interested and affected parties, including tribes, to understand the area's historical and cultural importance. We know and appreciate that the Oak Flat campground holds great significance to some members of the Native American community, including the San Carlos, Apache, Hopi, and Gila River Indian Community. If we proceed with developing the project, the Oak Flat Campground will remain open for as long as it is safe, which is expected to be at least for the next few decades. Learn more here.
Fact: Apache Leap will be protected. At the request of and in consultation with Native American tribes and local communities, we set aside more than 800 acres of land to permanently protect Apache Leap as a Special Management Area (SMA) that is managed by the USFS. Specific measures within the Apache Leap SMA accommodate tribal concerns regarding public access, grazing and other protections for locations of cultural importance. Apache leap will be monitored to ensure that future mining-related activity does not impact the feature and this monitoring will continue throughout construction, operation, closure and reclamation of the mine. Detailed monitoring reports will be publicly available through the USFS.
Fact: The NEPA process, overseen by the USFS, requires broad public comment and extensive government-to-government consultation with Native American tribes that have historical ties to the project area. The USFS has cataloged more than 30,000 comments submitted since the Draft EIS was published in August 2019. Ongoing dialogue with tribal and community leaders has led to important changes to the project plan, including reducing the land exchange area, placing Apache Leap under permanent protection and implementing an Emory oak conservation program. And engagement with Native American tribes continues to play an essential role in shaping the project moving forward. In 2018, the USFS, Native American tribes and Resolution Copper launched a first-of-its-kind program, Tribal Monitor program. The program ensures tribal members are a part of identifying areas, resources and sites of importance and supporting informed decision-making. The program employs more than 30 members from seven Native American tribes to work alongside archaeologists. Learn more about how we’re working to preserve the area’s cultural heritage here.
We will maintain public access to areas within Oak Flat including the campground and recreational trails and climbing, after completion of the land exchange.
We have published a management plan on our website detailing how we will continue to operate the campground in keeping with current Tonto National Forest practices. Community groups and Native American tribal representatives will continue to provide input on how the area is protected and managed after the land exchange.
We will work with a local small business part-owned by members of an Arizona Native American Tribe to maintain the campground areas infrastructure and access trails.
Fact: When the mine is fully operational, Resolution Copper expects to support roughly 3,700 direct and indirect jobs, paying around $270 million per year in total compensation. The project is expected to contribute up to $61 billion in economic value for Arizona over the project's 60-year estimated life. Learn more about the local economic impact of the project here.
Fact: Once in operation, the Resolution Copper mine could supply up to one-quarter of the nation’s copper demand. That’s vital fuel for American innovation. Copper is an essential component in mobile devices, medical equipment and clean energy technologies, and demand is growing worldwide. The World Bank estimates that global copper demand could rise by 200% by 2050. Having a steady home-grown copper supply could be a competitive advantage for US manufacturing companies.
Fact: Most if not all areas currently used by rock climbers will remain accessible long into the future — and many may never be impacted. Ahead of any mining, at the request of rock-climbing groups, Resolution Copper is developing access into an area called the Inconceivables. We have also partnered with a national outdoor retail co-op, on a land access agreement where the retailer conducts rock-climbing classes on Resolution Copper property.
Fact: Block cave mining has been used in Arizona for decades. The San Manuel and the inspiration complex were both block cave operations. Rio Tinto has successfully operated three block cave operations in Australia and South Africa, and this will be a modern, leading-edge operation utilizing the most sophisticated technology available.
Fact: We’re working collaboratively with the community to ensure our legacy is one of positive, lasting benefits. That means finding ways to make our operations more sustainable as we move closer to production and make sure there is a plan in place to ensure the long-term safety and resilience of the land around us. State and federal law require a final reclamation plan to be approved before any mining can begin. And Resolution Copper—not taxpayers—must cover all costs associated with closing the mine and all post-closure monitoring.
To demonstrate our commitment to responsible operations and to making our community a cleaner and safer place to live and work, Resolution Copper voluntarily invested roughly $75 million over 15 years to restore 475 acres of the old Magma Copper West Plant. As a result of our reclamation efforts, an area that formerly stored mine tailings are now home to thriving native vegetation and wildlife. And by hiring local workers for the project, we’ve created jobs for our neighbors.
“Resolution Copper has already spent tens of millions of dollars to store enough surface water in the ground to sustain our operations for decades, which will result in a net zero impact to the groundwater when the stored water is recovered.”
Emory oak acorns (Quercus emoryi) are a critical component of Western Apache cultural heritage. Not only are the acorns a traditional source of food, but they also have cultural and ceremonial uses. In recent decades, however, Apache elders have noticed the health of these special…
Superior is known for its rich mining history, and at Resolution Copper we want to continue this legacy cleanly and safely. In 2005, Resolution Copper began the lengthy task of reclaiming the site of the old Magma Mine, a fixture in the Copper Triangle area since 1910. Since the…