We need you to comment now on the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s (ADEQ) intent to give South32 an Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (AZPDES).

The comment deadline is January 12, 2024.

South32 seeks to develop a new underground mine known as the Hermosa project. But to operate, the area first has to be pumped dry. This would lower groundwater levels around the mine by an estimated 1,900 feet and potentially harm hundreds of springs fed by that water. 

If granted, groundwater pumping will begin and that water would be squandered. 6 million gallons per day would be dumped into Harshaw Creek and 172,000 gallons per day into Alum Creek. The consistent addition of such huge volumes of water would bury springs and irrevocably change the landscape. This groundwater pumping could also cause flooding in the town of Patagonia threatening homes and businesses.

Since the deadline for action has past, you are no longer able to send comments.


Our member organization, the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance (PARA) is leading the charge to stop this damaging activity.

The Patagonia mountains near the town of Patagonia on the Arizona – Mexico border are facing an onslaught of proposed mining activities that would profoundly and irreparably damage one of our nation’s biodiversity hotspots.


The mining activity is being forced by several foreign mining companies that are trying to “strike it rich” and don’t care about the local residents and their lifestyle based on sustainable recreation and the water rich mountain ecosystem that sustains an amazing amount of biodiversity.

Please take action on this plan that would permanently damage the Patagonia mountains.

When you go to the ADEQ online comment form, you’ll be able to submit comments.  Go here for a sample letter you can edit and then cut and paste.  You can also download the comment summary prepared by PARA’s legal team and attach that file to your comments.


To learn more:
  • Read a summary of comments prepared by PARA’s legal team
  • Read the ADEQ proposed permit documents