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Arizona Mining Reform Coalition | Working to ensure mining is done responsibly to protect communities and the environment in Arizona.
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The Arizona Mining Reform Coalition is comprised of Arizona groups and individuals that work to ensure that responsible mining contributes to healthy communities, a healthy environment, and, when all costs are factored in, is a net benefit to Arizona. The Arizona Mining Reform Coalition expects the mining industry to clean up after itself, comply fully with the spirit of safeguards in place to protect Arizona, and to interact in a transparent and open manner with Arizona citizens.

Town of Superior Ends Agreements with Rio Tinto

Main Street, SuperiorMain Street, Superior

On February 21, 2013, the town of Superior officially terminated its Mutual Benefits Agreement with Rio Tinto and withdrew it's letter of support for the Oak Flat land exchange.  

The town's letter begins, "Due to the financial condition of the Town of Superior, I have been instructed to inform you that we regret that we can no longer express our unqualified support of the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act (HR 687 or SB 339, as drafted.)"

The letter cites 6 reasons for the termination with its relationship with Rio Tinto:

Queen Valley opposes Rio Tinto's water diversion away from Queen Creek

On December 3, 2012, the Queen Valley Golf Association passed a resolution opposing Rio Tinto's diversion of 900,000 gallons Queen Valley Golf CourseQueen Valley Golf Courseof water a day from its normal course down Queen Creek to a pipeline carrying the water directly to the Phoenix area where it is diluted and dumped on agriculture fields in return for water credits going to Rio Tinto that could be used should Rio Tinto develop a proposed mine at Oak Flat.  This diversion has left Queen Valley, a small retirement community centered around it's golf course, with water shortages.See the Queen Valley Golf Association's letter here.

On January 11, 2013, the Queen Valley Homeowners Association passed a similar resolution opposing the water diversion and also opposing RIo Tinto's plans to place a mountain of tailings at Florence Junction.  A tailings pile at Florence Junction would seriously impact the community, only 4 miles away.  See the Queen Valley Homeowners Association letter here.

Video Corner

Our friends have produced three videos on mining issues that we work on.  Please take a look at them and share the links.   Together we can spread the word about why these proposals are bad for Arizona, bad for our communities, and bad for the environment!

The first is called Cyanide Beach and was produced by John Dougherty and show how 5 current members of the Board of Directors were involved in a mine in Sardina, Italy that not only has caused massive pollution, but left a trail of lies and broken promises.

Rio Tinto Threatens Layoffs unless Land Exchange Passes

December 5, 2012

On November 30, Rio Tinto announced that unless the US Congress passes the Oak Flat land exchange immediately, they will lay off 80% of their workforce at Oak Flat between now and March.  In an orchestrated fashion, Senator McCain and Congressman Gosar both urged the Congress to pass the land exchange this year and an AZ Republic Op-ed decried Senate inaction.

Since Rio Tinto has made similar statement during every Congressional season since the land exchange has been introduced, organizations opposing the land exchange have blasted the announcement.

Contact your Senators to Stop the Oak Flat land exchange

We are at the tail end of the 112th Congress and have been able to keep the Oak Flat land exchange from moving in the US Senate. However, Senators Kyl and McCain are intent on pushing through the Oak Flat land exchange (HR 1904) this year to give more government handouts to two of the world’s largest mining companies.

Congress is back after the elections in a lame duck session that should wrap up by the end of the year. Kyl and McCain will most likely attempt to attach HR 1904 to important legislation instead of letting the Senate decide on the merits of the bill. Because of the controversial nature of the Oak Flat land exchange, this would amount to adding a poison pill to any necessary legislation.

Do not let Senators McCain and Kyl divert the Congress from important business by inserting their destructive special interest bill.

Oak Flat land exchange passes House

Today the US House of Representatives passed HR 1904, the Oak Flat Land Exchange with a 235 – 186 vote.  The House also voted several amendments to the bill that wOak Flat CampgroundOak Flat Campgroundere offered by Representatives, Grijalva, (D-AZ), Markey (D-MA), and Lujan (D-NM).  This is the first time the land exchange bill has made it through the House in the 6 years it has been introduced.  The bill has never made it through the Senate and the House version of the bill is so bad, it will have tough going in the Senate.  The bill continues to face opposition from both the Forest Service and the Department of Interior.


While the vote is disappointing, it was hardly unexpected given the anti-environmental make up of the House.  Still, it was rewarding to see a great deal of pressure put on the House from all walks of life opposing the Oak Flat land exchange.

Pima County Denies Augusta Air Quality Permit

On September 29, the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality denied Augusta Resource Corporation an air quality permit for the proposed Rosemont mine.  Pima County cited a number of deficiencies in the permit application.  (Read Pima County’s letter to Augusta here.)  Augusta now has several options.  They can appeal the decision, give up and go home, or they can submit a new, correct permit and try again.

This is good news and shows that Augusta does not have the wherewithal to handle the intricacies of building a mine.  While this does not mean that the fight to protect the Santa Ritas is over, it does show that despite Augusta’s multi-million dollar PR campaign to bully Tucson and the surrounding communities into accepting their mine proposal, has fallen short.

Proposed Florence In-Situ copper Mine a Bad Idea

Curis Resources, a Canadian Junior mining company is proposing an in-situ copper mine on the banks of the Gila River within the town boundaries of Florence, Arizona.  

Don Steuter, the Conservation Chair of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club (and one of our steering committee members), wrote an editorial about the proposed project which appeared in the Arizona Republic today.

Letters opposing H.R 1904, the Oak Flat land Exchange

Several organizations have sent letters to the House Natural Resources Committee opposing the Oak Flat land exchange.

Of note are:

The Access Fund -- A national climbers advocacy group dedicated to climbing access and conservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation -- an organization dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing America's communities.

Concerned Climbers of Arizona -- an organization advocating continued recreational access to climbing areas that are threatened by development or other forms of encroachment.

Call today to stop the Oak Flat land exchange bill

We Love Oak FlatWe Love Oak Flat

The House Natural Resource Committee will be voting tomorrow, Wednesday, July 13th, on H.R, 1904, the Oak Flat land exchange bill.

Please call Members of the House Natural Resources Commitee today!

This bill is not only an unnecessary piece of special interest legislation that would severely impact precious water, natural resources, and religious freedom, but also would abrogate our nation’s environmental laws and short-circuit the normal process for approving mines on public land.

For more information about the bill see our fact sheet and for additional information see our written testimony submitted to the Natural Resources Committee about the bill.

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Dr. Radut