Definitely Not a “Gift”
By Henry C. Munoz Sr. Chairman of Concerned Citizens Retired Miner Coalition of Superior and President of the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition.
On February 11, 2019, the Town of Superior entered into a contract agreement with Resolution Copper Company. Many in the community were excited about Resolution Copper Company’s agreement to help out the Town of Superior with $2 million dollars to purchase the old high school, which was selling for 4 million dollars at the time. The building was to be used as a multi-generational center for the community. The town would later secure Community Development Block (CDBG) Grants for the other $2 million dollars. I was a member of the Economic Development Committee at the time. Originally the committee was pushing to build onto the existing Roosevelt Elementary School complete with architectural design and plans which was starting to look like more than $6 million dollars. This was out of the reach of the town’s financial capabilities. I suggested that they tell Resolution Copper to pay for it since Freeport McMoRan, in 2014 had paid $12.3 million for the town of Morenci’s community multi-generational center. My reasoning, Freeport McMoran is worth $56 billion dollars, and Rio Tinto ($80 billion) and BHP ($85 billion) co-owners of Resolution Copper, combined are worth $165 billion dollars. See the link to the Freeport McMoRan Center.
Below is the first paragraph of the town of Superior’s agreement with Resolution Copper.
MULTI-GENERATIONAL CENTER DEVELOPMENT GIFT AGREEMENT
This Multi-generational Center Development Gift Agreement (“Agreement”) is made and
entered into this 11th day of February 2019 (the “Effective Date”) between the Town of Superior,
an Arizona municipal corporation, (the “Town”) and Resolution Copper Mining LLC, a Delaware
limited liability company (“RCML”). The Town and RCML are sometimes hereinafter referred to
individually as a “Party” and collectively as the “Parties.”
The dictionary definition of a gift is: A gift or a present is an item given to someone without the expectation of payment or anything in return.
In this agreement (sec- 12-page 6) between the Town and Resolution Copper there are provisions that if the Town were to annex any company property without first consulting the company and they are not in agreement, the town would have to pay back the $2 million dollars it gave the town for the old high school in tax credits. Essentially Resolution Copper Company is not actually giving $2 million dollars to the town, as noted unless they get something in return, “No Annexation.” Resolution Copper Mine General Plan of operations has a large plant facility that would be be built where the old smelter was (smelter town). This is the area cleared out on the west side of town. (See map).
Also included in this agreement is a provision where Resolution Copper’s “high paid” employees will get discounted rates for memberships for use of recreational and fitness facilities within in the multi-generational facilities for the life of the facility (sec-4 page 3-4.) (But Superior taxpayers are required to pay full rate.) Another provision is that Resolution Copper Company would have use of the facility for 12 meetings a year free of charge. (Will community or private organizations get free access?) Below both are noted in the contract agreement.
Section 12 Annexation (page 6).
The parties expressly agree and acknowledge the purpose of this Agreement is for the Town to provide community development services. If at any such time during this Agreement a lawful annexation process results in all or part of the RCML Service Area being incorporated into the Town, and RCML did not request or agree to the annexation, then this agreement shall continue to be in force and effect, but RCML shall receive a tax credit equal to any sums paid under this Agreement subsequent to any such annexation, which credit shall be applied against any existing or future (1) real property taxes levied by the Town (including primary and secondary property taxes), or (2) any other tax levied by the Town for the funding of community development, which are imposed by the Town as a result of the annexation or inclusion of the Resolution Service Area within the Town boundaries. If RCML agrees or requests the annexation or the annexation occurs during the Term of this Agreement such annexation shall not be a cause for modification of the monetary obligations set forth in this Agreement.
Section 4 (pages 3-4)
a. RCML shall receive at no cost use of facility meeting spaces and associated amenities for business purposes at least twelve (12) times per year] for twenty years after the Town provides the Notice of Completion.
b. Current employees of RCML shall also receive discounted rates for membership or use of recreational and fitness facilities within the multi-generational center for the life of the facility.
It is not hard to see who is benefiting from this contract and it’s not the town or its residents. Resolution Copper does all the dictating in the agreement for its benefit. I don’t regard anything here in the agreement as a gift. The town would benefit financially if they annexed all-mine facilities to include Oak Flat mine area. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) noted that the Town of Superior would benefit the least financially from this project due to it not being in the town’s city limits. A town official recently stated that they were assured by Resolution Copper that our town’s water supply would not be affected by the mine. Was that in writing with financial assurances when it does, for financial compensation purposes for the community? I would rather believe the 2 government agencies, the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management who recently conducted the studies, that said that our area water aquafers would be destroyed and contaminated. than the word of 2 foreign mining companies. The 2-mile-wide crater that would occur with this block cave mining method will leave a hole twice as big as Meteor Crater up by Flagstaff. The toxic cleanup-maintenance as a result of this mining method of course will be left to the taxpayer. This mine could possibly claim bankruptcy if needed and leave, as noted in the FEIS, when mining is completed.