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NEWS: Proposed Canadian copper mine threatens water supply of Arizona town

The Globe and Mail reports, “Florence, Arizona is up in arms over plans by a Canadian company to build a copper mine right in the middle of town. The proposed mine, by Vancouver-based Curis Resources Ltd., has garnered national attention and brought out some heavy hitters, including Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and developer Robert Sarver, who owns the Phoenix Suns basketball team. Governor Brewer has expressed support for the project, saying it will spark badly needed economic development in the area. Mr. Sarver, whose company has a housing project in town, is backing a campaign to stop the mine, arguing it will ruin the water supply.”

“Much of the opposition is focused on the company’s plan to use an extraction technique called ‘in-situ copper recovery’. The process involves injecting an acid solution into the deposit through a series of wells. The copper dissolves into the solution and is pumped out for processing. ‘This type of mining has never proven itself to be mining that when they left, the water was as good as when they came,’ said vice-mayor Tom Smith, who is against the mine. ‘Arizona is a desert and if you don’t have water, you don’t have anything.'”

“The city’s 10,000 residents are bitterly divided over the proposed mine. A recent survey by city officials found 39 per cent of locals support the mine, 32 per cent don’t and 28 per cent aren’t sure. There have been a host of noisy public meetings and lawn-sign campaigns, and stacks of nasty letters to the local newspaper.”

“Battles like this have become common across North America as communities wrestle with projects, such as the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines, which offer economic development but affect the environment. In Florence, opponents of the mine have been winning the battle so far. City council has voted twice to reject the mine, including a 7-1 vote in December. But Curis isn’t backing down. The company, connected to privately held Hunter Dickinson Inc., is pushing ahead and plans to seek approval for part of the project from state officials.”

The full article is at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/arizona-town-bitterly-split-over-copper-mine/article2306991/singlepage/#articlecontent.