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Ariz. copper mine would help revive US economy: Gosar

Keywords: Tags  American Copper Council, Paul Gosar, Resolution Copper Mining, copper, Andrea Hotter

WASHINGTON — The mining industry is a "perfect renaissance" to get the U.S. economy back on track, Rep. Paul Gosar (R., Ariz.) said at the American Copper Council meeting in Washington.

The federal government needs to get behind a bill that would see the development of a huge copper mine in Superior, east of Phoenix, the congressman said.

"We need to engage the rest of Congress. ... If your answer (to supporting the bill) is no, then what is your solution?" Gosar asked. "We all have to be part of the solution process."

Gosar is a strong supporter of the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act, which would allow the federal government to give 2,400 acres of land to Resolution Copper Mining Co. in Superior, where a vast copper deposit lies.

In exchange, Resolution would give more than 5,000 acres of land it owns throughout Arizona to the government, for conservation.

Resolution is a joint venture between Rio Tinto Plc and BHP Billiton Plc, and would provide more than one-quarter of the United States’ current copper needs.

Gosar said the mine—which is expected to add some 3,700 direct, indirect and induced jobs—would provide the kind of kick start that the U.S. economy needs.

"There are so many possibilities that we have, and copper controls a lot of that. People are saying, ‘I want my way out of this recession,’" he said at the meeting. "I’m bullish on Arizona; it’s poised to show this country how you get out of a recession."

A smelter should be a natural extension of the future Resolution Mine, Gosar said.

"There should be a process to keep smelting in the U.S. as well," he added.

Gosar said he is confident the bill is "something we can get done," but it needs to be a collaborative effort between the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Opponents to the bill say the mine would desecrate a sacred site to the San Carlos Apache tribe and consume huge volumes of water.

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