Over the years, southeastern Arizona’s economy has evolved from one dominated by mining, agriculture and ranching into a much more diversified business community. This diversification has brought prosperity to Tucson and the surrounding area. However, the same desirable qualities that have brought prosperity to our community have also resulted in southeastern Arizona’s high population growth rate and the uncontrolled urban sprawl accompanying this growth as more people move here to partake of these benefits. Undesirable impacts, resulting from this growth, pose a very serious threat to our wide-open spaces, scenic vistas, clean air and water and healthy environment we all enjoy.
In dealing with these challenges, some in our community have employed a strategy of favoring certain sectors of the economy to the detriment of others. Arizona’s copper industry is just one of the businesses, which have been unfairly targeted in our community. However, this approach only divides us by alienating those being targeted and makes others wonder whether their livelihoods will be threatened next. It unfairly places the blame on a few, when in reality all of us have played a role in creating the situation in which we now find ourselves. The only responsible way to deal with these challenges is for everyone in our community to participate in their solutions.
Rosemont Copper has worked with citizens in surrounding localities to find solutions for common problems, clearly demonstrating their commitment to meet these challenges as a responsible member of our community. Their willingness to invest in new technologies and incorporate innovative mining and reclamation practices into their proposed mining project will significantly reduce its areal footprint, minimize water usage and significantly lessen the environmental and social impacts it will have on the surrounding area.
Finding environmentally and socially responsible ways to conserve and more efficiently use our land and natural resources will be necessary, if we are to successfully meet the challenges our community faces. Rosemont’s proposed twenty-first century mining project conforms with these fundamental principles and serves as role model for others in our community to emulate.
At this point I am reminded of a quote by the thirty-third President of the United States, Harry S. Truman. “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” The good hard-working citizens of our community must not let fear to be used to divide us. Working together, we can find innovative solutions for southeastern Arizona’s present and future challenges.
David F. Briggs is a resident of Pima county and a geologist, who has intermittently worked on the Rosemont Copper project since 2006. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.