What’s Happening on the West Side of the Santa Ritas?
As many of you know, Hudbay has been busy! For several months, they have been drilling on the west side of the northern Santa Rita Mountains. They have bulldozed new roads and widened old roads on the ridge at Gunsight Pass and the western slope, all of which have occurred on their patented mining claims – their private land. The apparent result of all the activity, they say, is that they have found more copper ore.
What they are not talking about is, once again, the environmental damage that would occur if they were to mine this area. For instance, a LOT more groundwater (our best drinking water) would have to be pumped out of the Santa Cruz Valley near the town of Sahuarita. As a comparison, the proposed Rosemont Mine on the east side of the mountain would pump 4.8 million gallons per day – the same amount needed by about 60,000 homes. Any mining on the west side would presumably require at least as much. And, what about aesthetics? Who wants to see the mountain torn apart? Who wants to hear the blasting? Who wants to see lights 24 hours per day, seven days per week?
All of this and much more would result from an open-pit mine on the western slopes of the northern Santa Ritas. Mining this area would present the same challenge Hudbay faces with the existing Rosemont proposal on the eastern side of the mountain: Where could they dump thousands of tons of waste and tailings?
On 10 April 2021, we had an opinion piece in the Arizona Daily Star. Take a few minutes to click here and read it, and you’ll learn why Hudbay’s current proposal is such a terrible idea. In it, we wrote, “Arizona doesn’t need another massive copper project that destroys the landscape while depleting and polluting scare desert water supplies. The Santa Ritas are a superb sky-island mountain range; they deserve to be preserved and protected.”
We’ll continue to do everything possible to see that these mountains are preserved and protected in perpetuity.