The Tohono O’odham are the largest population and longest-established of southern Arizona’s Native American people. They have lived in the region for several hundreds of years, centuries before Westerners first appeared from the south. Tohono O’odham call the Santa Ritas “Ce:wi, Duag,” or “Long Mountain.” In May 2022, community leaders Austin Nuñez and Marlinda Francisco held a traditional blessing and Acknowledgment Run along a portion of the Arizona Trail that descends into Rosemont Valley. That valley – a unique Madrean habitat with thousands of oaks, seeps and ephemeral watercourses (that ultimately recharge Tucson’s aquifer) – would be completely destroyed to benefit a Canada-based copper mining company.
The elephant in the Santa Ritas.
Green Valley, Sahuarita, Corona de Tucson and Vail can no longer ignore Hudbay’s “Copper World” mine on the west side of the Santa Ritas south of Tucson. Thousands of homeowners and developers could see property values plummet. Retirees, looking for beautiful desert scenery and clean air, will find other locations. Young families will no longer want to settle in Corona de Tucson if the only thing protecting young lungs from air pollution is a red flag. Property owners looking at huge losses in value have a right to stand together and say we do not want this [mine] in our neighborhood. The greater community of Tucson is only made poorer by this mine. Increasing temperatures and more dust mean more heat inversions causing catastrophic breathing issues and death[s]. It is up to us to stop this. Hudbay leaves with the copper and we are left with the proverbial shaft. Elaine Wolter, SaddleBrooke
Buying the dormant Idaho-Maryland gold mine in Grass Valley, California, a Canadian gold-mining entrepreneur runs into community opposition as townsfolk and Indigenous people claim threats to water supplies and cite predecessor mine’s toxic legacy.
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