your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Sovereignty and E-Commerce:  Innovating and Reshaping the  Borders of Indian Country - Arizona State University Third Annual Tribal Government E-Commerce CLE Conference
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Cronkite News: Copper mine on sacred Apache land in Arizona complains about delays

Filed Under: Business | Environment | National | Politics
More on: 115th, arizona, cronkite news, hnrc, house, mining, paul gosar, raul grijalva, sacred sites, san carlos apache

The Resolution Coppper Mine near Superior could be one of the largest copper mines on the continent. But an official the company behind the project told a House committee that years of permitting in the U.S. is a “major barrier” to mining in this country. Photo by Cronkite News

Resolution mine official calls permitting process a barrier to business
By Dustin Quiroz

WASHINGTON – The Resolution Copper Mine in Arizona would be operating by now in most countries, but is still years away from getting all the permits it needs to begin mining in the U.S., a company official testified Tuesday.

Nigel Steward, managing director of copper and diamonds for Rio Tinto, the multinational mining company developing the Resolution project, told a House Natural Resources subcommittee that “outdated, inefficient” permitting is a “major barrier” to mining companies.

“To date, Rio Tinto has spent over $1.3 billion on the Resolution project for permitting, studies and project shaping, the project is years away from a final permit,” Steward said in his prepared testimony. “In other countries, this project would likely be coming to the end of the permitting process.”

But one Arizona representative argued for the necessity of the regulations that he said are there to protect the public from potential health and environmental hazards.

“One of the reasons we have regulations in is to make sure environmental, public health and all other attributes of community impact are taken into account before a project is approved,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, after the hearing.

Their remarks came at a hearing on the “importance of domestically sourced raw materials for infrastructure projects,” at a time when demand for those materials is expected to rise.

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, said in his opening statement that “artificial delays” caused by a bureaucratic and time-consuming permitting process for mineral extraction has led to an “unethical squandering of the nation’s resources.”

“The diversity of the nation’s mineral endowment allows for the U.S. to be self-sufficient,” said Gosar, chairman of the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee that held the hearing. “Yet domestic production of solid mineral resources is stymied by an arduous and uncertain regulatory scheme.”

Gosar said those “delays, and more importantly uncertainties, in obtaining the necessary permits for exploration and development are driving investments away from the U.S.”

House Committee on Natural Resources on YouTube: Oversight Hearing on The Importance of Domestically Sourced Raw Materials for Infrastructure Projects

Steward repeatedly said that Rio Tinto understands the necessity of environmental and other regulations and willingly complies. His concern is with the amount of time it takes: Seven to 10 years in the U.S. compared to two to three in Canada or Australia, which have similar standards, he said.

Those delays can lead to “real consequences” in the mining industry, he said, pointing to one study that said the value of the planned Rosemont copper mine, also in Arizona, fell from $18 billion to $15 billion during the years it was working through the permit process. Rosemont is not owned by Rio Tinto.

“The longer the wait, the more the value of the investment is eroded, even to the extent that the project ultimately becomes an unviable investment,” Steward’s prepared testimony said. “Even a large high-grade deposit will remain unmined if the balance between costs, revenue and timetable are not favorable.”

But Grijalva asked Steward how much of wait on Resolution was because of a years-long campaign by the company to swap thousands of acres with the federal government for the mine – a swap that include Oak Flat, a site the Apache claim is sacred to them. Grijalva called the 2014 land swap a “sweetheart deal” that he is still vowing to fight.

Grijalva said he believes the delays in permitting allow a crucial time to vet a project that is necessary to keep corporations from taking advantage of states and local communities.

“What’s been the record with most, big mining companies is that they extract what they need and then they leave,” Grijalva said. “And so then the problem is then left to the local people to try to figure it out, and this case the state of Arizona, to try to mitigate that.”

Pointing to the hearing’s theme on domestic production of raw materials, Grijalva asked Steward how much Resolution copper will be exported and how much will be used domestically. Steward said he expects the copper will be smelted at a facility in Utah, but that actual amounts exported are “a moving goalpost” due to a rising demand for copper and no sight of a start date for the mine.

“It will depend very much on what the ultimate mine size will be and we’re still going through that process at the moment through the permitting process,” Steward said in response to the question.

Grijalva was not impressed.

“The whole point of this hearing was to say, ‘We’ve got to get this mineral out of the ground so we can use it domestically,'” he said. “When they were going through their whole process they refused, and they refused again today to tell us and to tell Congress how much of that copper they’re going to export out of the country.”

House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Notice:
Oversight Hearing on The Importance of Domestically Sourced Raw Materials for Infrastructure Projects (March 21, 2017)

Note: This article is published via a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Related Stories:
Cronkite News: San Carlos Apache Tribe marches for sacred site (3/14)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Blackfeet Nation citizens approve historic water rights settlement (4/21)
Native Sun News Today: Cheyenne River Sioux woman still walking (4/21)
James Giago Davies: Our future is not bleak but bright with promise (4/21)
Rosalyn LaPier: Tradition blends with science in tribal communities (4/21)
Simon Moya-Smith: Media continues to peddle in Indian stereotypes (4/21)
Steven Newcomb: Bill in California dehumanizes indigenous peoples (4/21)
American Indian Library Association battles Trump's big budget cut (4/21)
Navajo Nation citizen faces death penalty for murder of tribal officer (4/21)
Meskwaki Tribe diversifies economy with barbecue sauces and more (4/21)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe must keep fighting despite gaming win (4/21)
Native Sun News Today: Body of missing Cheyenne River man found (4/20)
Ivan Star Comes Out: True tribal histories are concealed in America (4/20)
Steve Russell: Thoughts about sovereignty and tribal governments (4/20)
Dwanna Robertson: Dispelling a common myth about tribal gaming (4/20)
Whiteclay liquor stores ordered to shut down after losing licenses (4/20)
Cherokee Nation blames pharmaceutical industry for opioid crisis (4/20)
Eastern Cherokee citizens back chief amid call for impeachment (4/20)
North Carolina woman punished for abducting Cherokee children (4/20)
Ramapough Lenape Nation denied permit for anti-pipeline camp (4/20)
Ho-Chunk Nation remains confident as rival tribe sues over casino (4/20)
Nottawaseppi Huron Band invests casino funds in unique project (4/20)
Pechanga Band reaches midway point of $285M casino expansion (4/20)
More data needed to address human trafficking in Indian Country (4/19)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee set for 1st field oversight hearing (4/19)
Navajo Nation Council rejects bill to change name to 'Dine Nation' (4/19)
Non-Indian tenant loses bid to stay on Colorado River Reservation (4/19)
Native Sun News Today: Cheyenne River citizen opens bookstore (4/19)
Cheyenne-Arapaho citizen honored for law enforcement service (4/19)
Cronkite News: Attorney General links sanctuary cities to gangs (4/19)
Anna Hohag: Bringing indigenous science to water management (4/19)
Dakota Access Pipeline announces May 14 as first date of service (4/19)
Fort Peck Tribes finally gain access to federal criminal databases (4/19)
Mohegan Tribe wins approval to develop site of former hospital (4/19)
Stockbridge-Munsee Band sues to stop expansion of rival casino (4/19)
Cowlitz Tribe enters law enforcement deal as casino debut nears (4/19)
Trump administration faces test as tribes clash over new casino (4/18)
Attorney General vows help for public safety in Indian Country (4/18)
Zinke cites 'heart-breaking' crime rates against Native women (4/18)
Bill brings funding for AMBER Alert systems to Indian Country (4/18)
Native Sun News Today: Paper moves closer to Native readers (4/18)
Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: Looking at racism through some new eyes (4/18)
Secretary Zinke won't return land taken from Salish and Kootenai (4/18)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.