San Carlos Apache Tribe: Proposed Resolution Copper Mine Grossly Exaggerates
Jobs & Revenues
Study by Power Consulting reveals mining giant's report intentionally ignored
harmful costs and assumed only benefits from the mine.
SAN CARLOS, Ariz., Sept. 23, 2013
SAN CARLOS, Ariz., Sept. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --The San Carlos Apache Tribe
released a study today prepared by Power Consulting, Inc. establishing that
the proposed Resolution Copper mine will produce dramatically fewer jobs and
less revenue for the local communities and the State than previously
reported. The study was conducted by Thomas Power, PhD, Professor Emeritus of
Economics at the University of Montana.
The massive, underground block cave mine proposed by Resolution Copper Mining
would destroy culturally protected and environmentally sensitive land within
the Tonto National Forest. The mine would be located 4 miles east of
Superior, Arizona. Mining would take place 7,000 feet below ground and cause
a collapse of at least 2 miles in diameter on the surface, a subsidence that
may be visible from outer space, in order to extract one cubic mile of copper
covering an area approximately the size of 1,400 football stadiums.
Power Consulting reviewed the report prepared for Resolution Copper Mining
("RCM") by Elliott D. Pollack & Company (the "RCM report"). RCM is owned by
foreign mining giants Rio Tinto PLC (United Kingdom) and BHP Billiton Ltd.
(Australia). Power Consulting found that the RCM report intentionally ignored
all physical, social and environmental costs for the proposed mine and vastly
exaggerated the mine's benefits. RCM's report does not consider any
governmental costs normally incurred when a mine opens, such as road
improvements, increased police and fire protection service, and other
infrastructure costs incurred by local communities, or the depletion or
pollution of water resources by the mine.
"The mining company study assumed there would be no costs associated with the
project and grossly overstates the positive impacts," said Terry Rambler,
Chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe. "Economic studies must consider both
costs and benefits. Assuming that the mine is cost free, which is what RCM's
report presumed – and that the mine would only bring benefits – seriously
misleads the public and the State of Arizona."
The Power Study identified numerous and significant costs that RCM's report
ignored, such as the environmental costs of the proposed mine. Mining
activities contaminate and deplete ground and surface water supply which
require costly and perpetual treatment. Over the life of the mine, the
extraction process will consume over 660,000 acre feet of water in a region
that already is facing one of the most severe droughts in history. And,
because RCM seeks to obtain the mine through federal legislation that avoids
protections afforded under the National Environmental Protection Act, there
exists the strong probability of a major environmental cleanup that will cost
taxpayers millions of dollars. Remediation of toxic contamination requires
costly and perpetual treatment.
The Power Study refuted the presumption that the proposed mine will generate
significant revenue for the communities of Globe and Superior. Seventy-one
percent (71%) of the tax revenue from the proposed mine will be collected by
the federal government. Over half of the value created by the mine will go
out of state, to national and international investors, and only about 4% of
mineral value would flow to local residents in terms of wages.
The Power Study also rebutted RCM's assumption that copper production,
employment and tax revenue will remain stable for fifty years, which is
historically extremely unlikely. Copper production cycles swing from highs
to lows because production is dependent upon market conditions, technology,
pricing and a host of other factors that cause copper prices to fluctuate.
Because of high upfront capital costs, mining companies try to accelerate the
extraction of ore once the construction and equipment costs of the mine have
been incurred, resulting in shorter life spans for mines. This is especially
true for block cave mines. Thus, RCM's predicted fifty year life for this mine
is questionable and suspect.
While mining is promoted as an economic benefit to communities, the Power
Study pointed out that communities, like Globe and Superior, are not
historically prosperous, despite their having long-time mining history.
Because mining displaces other economic activities, these communities are less
diversified and less economically stable. When jobs are lost, residents and
businesses have few alternatives, which is why mining towns turn into ghost
Nor does mining increase employment. Between 1974 and 1997, copper production
in Arizona rose by 73%, but the workforce was cut by 56%, or about 16,000
jobs. This is directly attributable to improvements in technology worker
productivity. In 1974 it took 35 workers per 1,000 tons of contained copper.
In 2003 it took only 7 workers to produce the same quantity. This trend will
continue. Automation reduces the number of employees needed for drilling,
blasting, train and truck driving. Some new jobs are created, but in remote
operations centers, not in mining communities. Resolution Copper has announced
that it plans to use highly mechanized and automated panel caving technology
at the proposed mine, calling it the "Mine of the Future".
To read the complete study and for more information, visit www.oakflat.org.
San Carlos Apache Tribe is located in east central Arizona and covers more
than 1.8 million acres from the Sonoran desert to alpine forest. The
tenth-largest reservation in land area, San Carlos Apache spans Gila, Graham
and Pinal Counties.
Contact: Tanayia White at 928.961.0603
Alex Ritchie at 928.475.3344
SOURCE San Carlos Apache Tribe
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