Mining companies get free water and virutally free land
The situation has been well documented by Environmental Working Group with a comprehensive investigation of how "Hard Rock Mining Industries' Control of Public Assets":
A fine example is now occurring here in Southern Arizona. Augusta Resources, a Canadian company wants to destroy 3,155 acres of Coronado National Forest with one billion tons of waste rock and tailings, was formed for the sole and explicit purpose of exploiting Public Land in the U.S. Southwest for mining. It’s a bargain. Virtually free land—no royalties―and free water, with no hydrological evaluations at all in Arizona.
A short report to Congress on water depletion (10-17-07):
Further, they pollute the free water and land
Reports on some of the worst polluters that operate in U.S.:
Rio Tinto: Rio Tinto is the parent company of some of the biggest mining polluters in the world. One subsidiary in U.S. is Kennecott, the company that has created the biggest toxic plume in the U.S. near the Great Salt Lake.
Pending Projects in U.S.: Resolution, Eagle, IOC pellet plant,
Freeport McMoRan: Freeport McMoRan has partnered with Rio Tinto to create one of the biggest pollution and human rights tragedies on the planet in a former paradise on a Indonesian island.
Existing Projects in U.S.: Morenci, Bagdad, Sierrita, Miami, Safford, Chino, Tyrone, Henderson
Earthworks recently released a summary report of the research done by Ann Maest and Jim Kuipers on the discrepancy between the projected water pollution given in Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and the actual pollution. An EIS assessment is required for any new mine on National Forest Land. It is true that it is hard to predict the impact because there are many factors. Even so, 100 percent of mines predicted compliance with water quality standards before operations began (assuming pre-operations later quality was in compliance). In actual fact, 76 percent of the mines studied in detail exceeded water quality standards due to mining activity. The mitigation measures to prevent water quality exceedances failed in 64 percent of the mines. A summary of the results:
The complete report with sites and data bases:
EPA Report: Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials in AZ Copper Belt
EPA Reports for site reassessment due to groundwater contamination in Arizona