The Problem

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":

Who Owns the West?

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.

An example occurred recently in Colorado:

Court Decsion on Crested Butte

A short report to Congress on water depletion (10-17-07):

Water level depletion by mining in Arizona and the Southwest

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, Pebble, Sweetwater

Existing Operations in U.S. :
Rawhide, Cortez/Pipeline, Yellowstone, Kennecott Utah Copper, Decker, Spring Creek, Boron, Wilmington Plant, Cordero Rojo, Antelope, Jacobs Ranch, Ludlow.

Report on Rio Tinto's record

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.

Report on Freeport McMoRan's Environmental Record
Report on Freeport McMoRan's Human Rights Record

Pending Projects in U.S.: Safford

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:

Predicting Water Quality Problems at Hard Rock Mines

The complete report with sites and data bases:

Comparison of Predicted and Actual Water Quality at Hardrock Mines

EPA Report: Damage Cases and Environmental Releases from Mines and Mineral Processing Sites

EPA Report: Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials in AZ Copper Belt

Case History: Montana

EPA Reports for site reassessment due to groundwater contamination in Arizona

Twin Buttes


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