So the proposed copper mine in Superior will provide jobs—what else?
Resolution Copper has stated in an article printed in the Arizona Republic that they will have some 450 mining jobs. Suddenly, that number has doubled to 1,200 mining jobs plus a couple of hundred construction jobs in the beginning. They are claiming another 3,000 jobs in the area at McDonalds, the local bar, etc., but no other mining company has ever made such claims.
Resolution Copper makes it appear as if they are doing us a favor. As if they are offering us a good deal: the destruction of the oak grove at Oak Flat—so unique that President Eisenhower protected it from mining in 1955—and jewel of Devil’s Canyon in exchange for jobs.
But who is really going to benefit?
The copper content is exceptionally high in the proposed underground pit that will encompass one mile in diameter. The company proposes to remove 100,000 tons a day from the underground pit. At 1% copper content, this tonnage translates to two million pounds of copper per day.
At the present price of copper— $2.20 a pound—the company will gross $4,400,000 per day, or $132,000,000 monthly. Using numbers from other Arizona copper mines, site production and delivery costs amount to about $1.50 per pound, which will run some $3,000,000 daily expense, or $90,000,000 monthly expense
In addition employee salaries for 1,200 employees (their highest estimate) will cost around $6,000,000 monthly expense. This number is using the average salary as $60,000 annual or $5,000 monthly. The estimate is high, for since 1983 when Reagan, Wharton School of Business and Phelps Dodge conspired to end unions in Arizona, mining salaries are no longer considered high wages. For example: 1) Entry level truck driver - $33,300; 2) Shovel operator - $46,000; 3) Journeyman electrician - $54,400.
So at $2.20 per pound, the company will net $36,000,000 per month, or $432 million annually. The employees with receive $72 million tops, while the company sends $360 million to its stockholders in Australia and Britain. And that number remains the salary number remains the same when the price of copper goes up.
The copper price is low now, what will happen when it goes up? As it always does. Nevertheless, the operating costs and the salaries will remain the same. In the chart, they are rounded off to $100 million to allow for management bonuses, etc.
If the copper price were to reach $4.00 a pound, the monthly profit climbs to $140 million per month, or $1,680,000,000—over a billion dollars. At that rate, the $6 million monthly expense paid to the employees equals 4.3%. [I have provided a chart below sowing calculations]
Most mines in Arizona operate with copper at .25 percent. With these large amounts of copper hitting the market, will the other copper mines be able to continue to operate? These considerations should be factored in by our Arizona Congresspersons who are backing a bill to give Oak Flat and the surrounding region to the mining company in exchange for some over-grazed ranches. Senate Bill S.409 will be heard in committee on June 17; while House Bill H.R. 2509, introduced by Ann Kirkpatrick without meeting with the retired miners group or the local Native American Nations, has yet to be scheduled for hearing.
Do Arizonans really want to sacrifice a wonderful landscape and recreational area to make others rich, while seemingly tossing us a few crumbs. The truth is they will be giving us a wasteland with rock piles 200 ft. high on 3,000 acres, a shell of a cliff at Apache Leap—if it does crack and crumble—and dozens of haul trucks on our scenic highway. Time to rethink this deal?
$2.00 x 2,000,000 = 4,000,000 x 30 =120,000,000 -100,000,000 = 20,000,000 x 12 = $ 240,000,000
$2.50 x 2,000,000 = 5,000,000 x 30 =150,000,000 -100,000,000 = 50,000,000 x 12 = $ 600,000,000
$3.00 x 2,000,000 = 6,000,000 x 30 =180,000,000 -100,000,000 = 80,000,000 x 12 = $ 960,000,000
$3.50 x 2,000,000 = 7,000,000 x 30 =210,000,000 -100,000,000 =110,000,000 x 12 = $1,320,000,000
$4.00 x 2,000,000 = 8,000,000 x 30 =240,000,000 -100,000,000 =140,000,000 x 12 = $1,680,000,000
$4.50 x 2,000,000 = 9,000,000 x 30 =270,000,000 -100,000,000 =170,000,000 x 12 = $2,040,000,000
$5.00 x 2,000,000 =10,000,000 x 30 =300,000,000 -100,000,000 =200,000,000 x 12 = $2,400,000,000