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Climbers want the Resolution Copper mine in AZ?
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By Fred AmRhein
Apr 25, 2013

ClimbandMine wrote:
I don't argue that recreation, tourism, and "scenic values" have societal benefits. I argue that the environmental impacts can be mitigated.


An interesting and recurring issue with respect to Resolution's proposal has been what many familiar with NEPA argue is a gutted environmental process as defined by their legislation.

It's curious that they seem to want to drive around existing and evolving environmental protocols and regulations.


ClimbandMine wrote:
And I fully believe that recreation and mining can completely coexist. Heck, they have in that area - there's been mining down there for 100 years.


It kind of depends on what the word "coexist" means.

The only reason that recreational/cultural activities have taken place at Oak Flat and the nearby lands is because of the historical non-subsiding technique of mining in the old Magma Mine AND the preserving effects of Public Land Order 1229 that set it aside from mining activity in 1955. You are making a reference to what most think of as the honest and traditional meaning of "coexist[ence]" in this way.

Based on RCM's publicly disclosed mine concepts and impacts, their proposal necessitates the destruction of much of the Oak Flat surface or likely precludes unfettered public access entirely. Sure, there might be time-limited access until the real work and impacts begin but this is not "coexistence" in the traditional and historical sense for those particular lands.

In the least it is disingenuous and misleading, if not outright false political spin for private gain (not by you perhaps but certainly by others advocating on behalf of RCM), to suggest that traditional public access for recreational/cultural activities will continue to coexist on any land that is above the mine, in the fracture zone, or anywhere on current public lands that RCM privatizes and deems to be too dangerous or inconvenient for public access.

At some point, the redefining and repackaging of the public's "coexistence" footprint into time-limited, private, and perhaps unilaterally revocable agreements reduces down to what it really is; elimination of public use and access for a unique, federally protected (PLO 1229), and valuable recreational/cultural asset, plain and simple, at least in my view.

Fred


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By MikeWh
Apr 25, 2013
ProfilePic

It is important to pick your battles. Ask some questions:

-What was the significance of the area to climbing before the controversy arose?

-Are there other mining threats to more important, more well traveled climbing areas that we should devote resources to?

The really big thing here is to think about climber's resources to defend, and if we spend all the money saving this area, will we be to drained to defend threats in other areas.

Environmentally Arizona has low biodiversity and bio-density compared with Eastern states. Mines in the east certainly cause a much greater impact on environment than in desert areas.

When we look at the money used to fight oil companies in Alaska in wasteland tundra, it is sad to know that meanwhile in Ecuador we are loosing the most valuable rainforest on the planet to oil companies, forest with in some cases 2000 different species of trees in ONE acre. So we save some Caribou at the expense of tens of thousands of species in eastern Ecuador.


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By Paul Hunnicutt
From Boulder, CO
Apr 25, 2013
Half Dome

right...because if we drill in Alaska and mine in Arizona that definitely will stop drilling for oil in Ecuador and mining in West Virginia??? I get what you are saying, but I don't think they are so related. Also just because there is lesser biodiversity doesn't mean we shouldn't protect it.

I'm opposed to most of this environmental destruction because most of the money goes to executives, there are alternatives to oil and new mines, and maybe if there was less raw "material" available - prices went up - companies might look at alternatives/recycling/less consumption etc.

Having said that I did visit an aluminum mine in Australia and they seemed to do a decent at restoration after the mining was over. At least from the little I saw. Not sure if Resolution is going to do the same, but seems hypothetically possible with certain types of mining to be environmentally responsible. Takes a company that looks at more than the profit margin though.


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By Zonie
Apr 25, 2013

Mike,

Suggest you look up "Biodiversity Hospots". There are a number in Arizona, including Dragoons (Cochise Stonghold), Chiracahuas, Catalinas, Santa Rita, and Rincons. There are no such hotspots on the East Coast. You are correct that you should pick your battles, this is one.

Cheers,

John.


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By Red
From Arizona
Apr 25, 2013
Cobra Kai

Paul Hunnicutt wrote:
Not sure if Resolution is going to do the same, but seems hypothetically possible with certain types of mining to be environmentally responsible. Takes a company that looks at more than the profit margin though.

Not this company. They are trying their hardest to get a land swap before a NEPA(National Environmental Policy Act) study. From what I understand, no mine has ever done this. The mine will use approximately the same amount of water as the city of Tempe. Tempe is home to ASU and upwards of 165,000 people.

Where's that water going to come from? We are already sucking the Colorado River dry as it is.

Where's the waste water going to go? Into our groundwater.

Where will the waste tailings go? Sky high in a man made mountain just to the Southeast of Phoenix. That just so happens to be the same direction that most of Phoenix's summer dust storms blow in from.

Various endangered species also use this land that Resolution wants to sink into the earth.

Resolution has not shown to be environmentally responsible.


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By Red
From Arizona
Apr 25, 2013
Cobra Kai

ClimbandMine wrote:
How many outdoor industry jobs pay people with high school educations (or less) $60,000 - $100,000 per year or more? Not many. 82,000 $10 per hour jobs suck.

Now I know this does not answer your question(from what I saw reading it quickly), but it might help give you an idea. Check out the link below, page nine in particular. Outdoor recreation employs quite a few more Americans than you probably realize. 6.1 Million jobs.


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By kpbo
From upstate NY
Apr 25, 2013
jammin'

MikeWh wrote:
Environmentally Arizona has low biodiversity and bio-density compared with Eastern states. Mines in the east certainly cause a much greater impact on environment than in desert areas.


lol. right... have you been to Arizona? or the eastern states for that matter?!


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By Greeley
Apr 25, 2013

You guys should take some of the time and energy you are putting into writing about this issue on this forum and direct it towards writing a letter to Rep. Kirkpatrick and any other senators, congressional reps, local politicians, media outlets, etc. that could make an impact. Follow Geir's lead. I'm not trying to be a dick; this is a genuine suggestion.

I'm just sayin'...


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By Geir
From Tucson, AZ
Apr 25, 2013
Toofast

Greeley wrote:
You guys should take some of the time and energy you are putting into writing about this issue on this forum and direct it towards writing a letter to Rep. Kirkpatrick and any other senators, congressional reps, local politicians, media outlets, etc. that could make an impact. Follow Geir's lead. I'm not trying to be a dick; this is a genuine suggestion. I'm just sayin'...


Hey Greeley, these guys have been heavily involved in this long before I was. Take a look at some of the years of dialog posted up here on MP regarding this issue. Almost everyone here has been engaging the climbing community, contacting our reps, and attending each public event related to this mine.


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Apr 25, 2013
modern man

and what do ya know, the politicians have their minds made up for them by someone with lots of $$$$

time for some more letters???


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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Apr 25, 2013
modern man

what would Edward Abbey suggest?


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By BGBingham
Apr 25, 2013
night ice

A friend on FB suggested that the Senators and Congressmen and women should be wearing their corporate sponsorship like a NASCAR racer. Makes perfect sense since Flake, McCain, Gosar and Kirkpatrick all seem to be singing cheap karaoke with lines supplied by RCM and Rio Tinto. It takes some money to be such sycophants!

Their main strategy is to term the land swap a "jobs bill". Smart, call it something else than what it is. RCM has always been about controlling the language. Their number one rule is to never give in on "Block Cave". I suggest at least block cave with continuous backfill.

Of course if a corporation such as them were to actually design a mine that wouldn't cave the surface or leave the tailings to foul the air they'd employ many more people and set the course for better mining methods worldwide. Their proposed techniques sound all modern with the mention of robotics, etc., but the fundamental method is nearly a hundred years old and comes from a day when no one worried about subsidence, waste or environmental footprint let alone the cultural concerns of Native Americans, wildlife, or recreational uses of the land

And by the way, Gosar et al, you all come off as car salespeople who need a deal right now! The copper in the ground at Oak Flat isn't going anywhere. It is like money in the bank. One day there will be a mining company that is forward thinking enough to do it right. RCM isn't that company.

B


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By Curt Shannon
Apr 26, 2013

MikeWh wrote:
It is important to pick your battles. Ask some questions: -What was the significance of the area to climbing before the controversy arose?


You mean besides the fact that the area hosted the world's largest climbing competition for 15 years in a row?

Curt


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By Colonel Mustard
From Reno, NV
Apr 26, 2013
Colonel Mustard

MikeWh wrote:
Environmentally Arizona has low biodiversity and bio-density compared with Eastern states.


As others have asked, have you even been there? The Sonoran desert is very beautiful with many unique plants and animals poised in a delicate balance of survival. A trip to Queen Creek or the nearby Superstition Mountains in spring might leave you with a greater appreciation for the desert than you have currently.

This spot also has great cultural significance to both Native Americans and climbers.

Maybe you know all the resources that are available and exactly how to allocate them, but the fight for this area is strong in these peoples' hearts because they know what they love and that the area is worth it.

It's not like you can simply chide people into doing the correct thing by your metrics, and fighting the good fight in one area may very well lead to a movement that eventually reaches those areas with very little environmental regulation and much greater corporate control that you deem more important.


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By ClimbandMine
Apr 26, 2013

Fred AmRhein wrote:
The only reason that recreational/cultural activities have taken place at Oak Flat and the nearby lands is because of the historical non-subsiding technique of mining in the old Magma Mine AND the preserving effects of Public Land Order 1229 that set it aside from mining activity in 1955. Fred


The early mining at Magma was by underhand cut and fill. This probably made sense due to the nature of the upper orebody as it was veined, and probably higher in grade. But it does not make sense for a large orebody. This from a paper on the restart of Magma in the late 1980's:

"over 1400 employees laid off for two basic reasons: first, as a resu1t of a mine plan that was technically flawed and second, because of very high production costs mainly due to the low productivity from a very high cost work force."

And:
"The plan is to convert the lower portion of the orebody to an open stope longhole blasting method. This method will involve driving an overcut and undercut drift 40 to 50 feet vertically apart. The stope will be drilled down from the overcut drift and blasted. The broken ore will then be trammed with remote control LHD's to ore passes."

Longhole stoping was used from the early 1990's until the mine shut down. The portion of the deposit it was used on was not continuous according to the graphics in the paper. The mining rate was only 1,000 tons per day. No ore grade information was available in the paper.

A much larger, more continuous orebody lends itself to caving. The capital required just to get to the depths this ore is requires payback, which requires certain economies of scale. I'm not discounting methods like stoping, but as I've mentioned I don't know that there is sufficient data at depth to sufficiently evaluate such a method.

I do discount a "tailings filled block cave". I have done enough studies on caving dilution to know that you would ruin the orebody doing thst...


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By Geir
From Tucson, AZ
Apr 26, 2013
Toofast

MikeWh wrote:
It is important to pick your battles.


It's safe to say climbers have picked this battle knowing full well what is at stake.

I am curious as to why the QCC has not produced any justification to back up their claim that they are the principle representatives of AZ climbers. There is no mention of this or their blanket letter of support on the forums, their website, or their Facebook page.

If they truly represent the bulk of the community they ought to answer to this and provide some documentation supporting their contention. Otherwise they ought to stop making this claim and disclose to our representatives that they do not speak for most climbers.

Until this is addressed I feel that climbers should not cooperate with any of the requirements RCM is placing on us through this "agreement". Doing so will only further the misperception that climbers have acquiesced to RCM's demands.


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By Fred AmRhein
Apr 26, 2013

ClimbandMine wrote:
I do discount a "tailings filled block cave". I have done enough studies on caving dilution to know that you would ruin the orebody doing thst...


ClimbandMine,

Thanks for the technical background info.

I believe we are saying the same thing with respect to the historical mining operation in the Magma Mine in terms of no surface manifestations from the ore removal.

But, do not forget that attempts to privatize Oak Flat were made in at least two instances in decades past. Both were denied because of the Public Land Order (1229) designating it as a recreational area that precludes the acquisition of this federal parcel for mining purposes (USFS property). In essence, not only is it national Forest Service land, it is further protected from commercial acquisition for mining; a somewhat unique parcel for sure.

Can you say some more about the "caving dilution" that you mention; I'm not sure I quite understand what you are describing and it would be informative to have a better understanding.

Thanks in advance.

Fred


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Apr 26, 2013
tanuki

Geir wrote:
It's safe to say climbers have picked this battle knowing full well what is at stake. I am curious as to why the QCC has not produced any justification to back up their claim that they are the principle representatives of AZ climbers. There is no mention of this or their blanket letter of support on the forums, their website, or their Facebook page. If they truly represent the bulk of the community they ought to answer to this and provide some documentation supporting their contention. Otherwise they ought to stop making this claim and disclose to our representatives that they do not speak for most climbers.



Well stated!

The sad fact is that they never say that the represent anyone. All of their statements are just true enough to be legal, and from what I have seen the QCC never makes any claims they cannot back up. It is all marketing BS approved by a lawyer and spun to the public through politicians and mine management.

In their own words, the QCC is an "Arizona nonprofit corporation dedicated to the conservation of climbing areas and the development and maintenance of public access to climbing areas," nothing more. They never talk about the consent of the "climbing community," and even go so far as to state that they have no members. To make it even worse, the QCC will not have a meaningful dialogue with non-board members or entertain any alternate strategies. They do not need to; the QCC has a plan. From their actions it is obvious that the opinions of the "climbing community" are not important to them.

This whole thing is sorted and disgusting. I do not know what the motives of the QCC board are, but IMHO they have sold out to the mine 100%.

Edit to add:
To be clear, I do not support the QCC and am 100% opposed to its current course of action.


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By Geir
From Tucson, AZ
Apr 26, 2013
Toofast

Thanks NC.

This is the statement that I am referring to:

"The Queen Creek Coalition, a federally recognized 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization registered in the State of Arizona, is and has been the principal representative of Arizona rock climbers on the proposed Land Exchange and copper mine project near Superior, Arizona."

This is the first sentence of the letter of support written by QCC and apparently delivered to (at least) Gosar and Kirkpartick. For the full text see Fred's earlier post.


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By ClimbandMine
Apr 26, 2013

Fred AmRhein wrote:
ClimbandMine, Thanks for the technical background info. I believe we are saying the same thing with respect to the historical mining operation in the Magma Mine in terms of no surface manifestations from the ore removal. But, do not forget that attempts to privatize Oak Flat were made in at least two instances in decades past. Both were denied because of the Public Land Order (1229) designating it as a recreational area that precludes the acquisition of this federal parcel for mining purposes (USFS property). In essence, not only is it national Forest Service land, it is further protected from commercial acquisition for mining; a somewhat unique parcel for sure. Can you say some more about the "caving dilution" that you mention; I'm not sure I quite understand what you are describing and it would be informative to have a better understanding. Thanks in advance. Fred


FYI, National Forest land all over the west has mining claims on it, and must go through Plan of Operations steps, among other permitting steps (I won't list them, they are different depending on the state and the project), in order to be mined... Not much different than BLM, just adds one more agency to the mix. It is the PLO 1229 that makes this piece of land special (legally speaking).

Dilution in caving... Picture an hourglass. Every drawpoint acts as one hourglass and you have hundreds or thousands that overlap a little bit. As the LHD draws ore out from the middle, the tendency is for ore to flow faster down the middle of the "hourglass" than at the sides. That is the first principle to understand.

Second is the concept of "fines migration". If you pour sand into a pile of big rocks, the sand fills in the holes and flows to the bottom of the pile. Finer particles move faster than the big particles.

In caving, you blast the undercut underneath the mass of ore you want to draw. The ore starts as larger blocks and the more ore is drawn, the more rocks crush and grind against each other within the cave. Particle size within the cave decreases as more ore is drawn out from below. The particles (rocks) aren't uniform, though, and the fines move faster through the cave than the bigger rocks. This generally means that at some point waste (sub-ore grade material) from above enters the ore and dilutes the ore. This may be from waste rock above the orebody, a mined out level above, or wherever.

We know about the phenomenon, know how to model it, and plan the mine to minimize it.

A method that Brent proposes that adds tailings (sand - fines) into the cave, either on surface or underground during active mining would only add to this dilution in a large way, thus reducing the mine life, marginalizing the orebody, and defeating the purpose of putting in the mine in the first place. Adding cement to the tails would not work because the cave is always moving and it would just break up just like the rock.

Hope that makes sense somewhat...


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Apr 26, 2013
tanuki

Geir wrote:
"The Queen Creek Coalition, a federally recognized 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization registered in the State of Arizona, is and has been the principal representative of Arizona rock climbers on the proposed Land Exchange and copper mine project near Superior, Arizona."


That is interesting. I wonder, if "we" had a lawyer, could he argue that the "principal representative of Arizona rock climbers" part of that statement is not true, or is the wording loose enough to make it OK. It is just slick, legal, smoke and mirrors that has little to do with the truth.

We are in total agreement; they are negotiating on "our" behalf, without "our" consent. The QCC knows this and does not care.


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By Lindajft
From maricopa, AZ
Apr 27, 2013
The loaf

Geir wrote:
I am curious as to why the QCC has not produced any justification to back up their claim that they are the principle representatives of AZ climbers.

Hey Geir,
Dare I say..... Gag Order?

That is exactly what happened to Mayor Hing (Ex Superior Mayor) and others in the past with RCM. It's how they play this game.


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By AccessFund HQ
May 3, 2013
AF logo

The Access Fund supports the QCC and their successful negotiation of a license agreement with Resolution Copper (RCM) that allows continued climbing access on RCM's private land near Superior, Arizona. The QCC has not been the only or primary representative of Arizona rock climbers on the proposed Land Exchange and copper mine project. In May of 2012, the Access Fund hired a dedicated staffer (Curt Shannon) to advocate for a favorable outcome for climbers and all those who love Oak Flat. This work has included educating Federal, State and agency policy makers on the significant problems with the proposed land exchange legislation, reaching out to like-minded organizations and entities, and helping to build out a coalition of those opposed to the proposed, extremely destructive, block cave mine at Oak Flat.

Other than the Access Fund, the Concerned Climbers of Arizona and more recently the American Alpine Club have been active in addressing the ongoing concerns of climbers as they relate to the potential loss of Oak Flat and surrounding climbing areas. The QCC has been the principal climbing organization directly negotiating a license and settlement agreement with Resolution Copper to potentially offset the loss of climbing that would be caused by the RCM mine. Each individual climber will have to decide for him or herself which groups best represent their position on Oak Flat.


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By Pete Hickman
From Tacoma, WA
May 3, 2013
the crocoduck

If it weren't for the mine we'd have to completely rename an entire section of QC climbing!


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By Lindajft
From maricopa, AZ
May 3, 2013
The loaf

For the sake of public information:

The QCC has not spoken up on the proposed The Southeast Arizona Land Exchange since the group had it's split internally. If memory serves me correct, it was the summer of 2010. If fact, now the remaining members within the group have been silent on the Land exchange completely.

There are many that have spoken that they are pleased and support other groups that include climbers from AZ and other parts of the US that are in opposition of that Southeast Land Exchange as it is proposed.

In the year of 2013 there must to be a way that land will not be destroyed by the mines current proposed methods.

Linda


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