NEW YORK The U.S. House of Representatives will vote Sept. 26 on a bill to allow Resolution Copper Mining Co. to exchange more than 5,000 acres of land it owns throughout Arizona for 2,400 acres of federal land near Superior, Ariz., containing a large copper deposit.
The copper industry "has played a major role in Arizonas early growth and economic development," Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D., Ariz.), one of the bills co-sponsors, said via e-mail. "We know that across the globe, there is a great needan economic demandfor the high-grade copper these communities can produce, so we believe there is a way, through efforts like the Superior Mine, to bring more jobs and economic development to this region."
Rep. Paul Gosar (R., Ariz.), the bills other co-sponsor, was unavailable for comment, but said during an American Copper Council meeting in April that the move would bring more than 3,700 jobs to the state (amm.com, April 25).
Opponents of the bill say the mine would desecrate a site sacred to the San Carlos Apache tribe and consume huge volumes of water.
"This is an important step and were optimistic that it will pass the House," Resolution Copper spokesman Bruce Richardson said. The company is a subsidiary of Rio Tinto Plc.
The legislation was first introduced in 2005 and passed the House in 2011 (amm.com, Oct. 27, 2011).
"In the meantime, weve continued to work on getting the baseline studies and all the other information so we can submit a plan of operations," he said. "Were trying to have that by the end of the year."
The bill is an important step toward responsibly developing more mining projects, American Resources Policy Network president Daniel McGroarty said.