Today on Buckmaster – Rick Grinnell of the Southern Arizona Business Coalition and Randy Serraglio of the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity debate the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson. Also, Dr. Danielle Babski of the Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson. Plus, historian Ken Scoville has a preview of this Saturday’s Barrio Viejo Home Tour.
Today on Buckmaster – Bill Assenmacher, President of the Southern Arizona Business Coalition and Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll debate the proposed Rosemont Mine project. Also, Jack Challem, the Buckmaster contributor on nutrition.
Grijalva’s anti-jobs bills by Jonathan DuHamel on Apr. 08, 2013
Southern Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva, friend to the pygmy owl and illegal immigration, who a few years ago encouraged businesses to boycott Arizona, is continuing his anti-mining, anti-jobs, anti-Arizona economy stance with introduction of several bills to Congress.
The “Southern Arizona Public Lands Protection Act of 2013” H.R. 1183, proposes to ban new mining claims. The Act will, subject to valid existing rights, withdraw “all forms of entry, appropriation, and disposal under the public land laws; location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and operation of the mineral leasing and geothermal leasing laws, and the mineral materials laws” on all National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands in Pima and Santa Cruz Counties. Grijalva has introduced similar bills every year since 2007. This will preclude all new mineral exploration in Southern Arizona.
Southern Arizona is mineral rich with several operating mines, soon to be operating mines, and very good country for mineral exploration.
Arizona mining directly employs 11,300 people, who earned $1.22 billion in 2011. Arizona mining companies spent a total of $2.80 billion in 2011 purchasing goods and services from other Arizona businesses which supported an addition 8,700 jobs. In 2011, the mining companies themselves paid $212 million in business taxes to Arizona governments. Employees of mining companies are estimated to have paid $96 million in individual taxes.
Grijalva states concern about our “valuable natural heritage” but seems to ignore the fact that mining is part of that heritage.
Mr. Grijalva notes on his website that he is against a land exchange that Resolution Copper is seeking with the Forest Service to enable Resolution to develop a copper mine near Superior, Arizona. The proposed underground copper mine could supply 30% of America’s copper needs and bring $1 billion per year to the state’s economy for 60 years. In the land exchange, Resolution Copper would get 2,422 acres from the Forest Service in exchange for 5,344 acres of environmentally sensitive land.
Grijalva’s “Grand Canyon Watershed Protection Act” would make permanent the “temporary” withdrawal (for 20 years) of one million acres near the Grand Canyon to prevent uranium mining. Uranium mining on the Colorado Plateau near the Grand Canyon poses no danger to the Colorado River water quality according to several studies. (See: Uranium mining and its potential impact on Colorado River water)
The “Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area Act” would establish a 3,325 acre National Heritage Area in Pima and Santa Cruz Counties which could have adverse affects on private property.
For a long time, Mr. Grijalva has been a tool of the environmental industry to the detriment of his constituents, their jobs, their safety, and the Arizona economy. He has supported establishment of wilderness areas along the Mexican border which would interfere with the Border Patrol’s ability to monitor the border.
As one of Mr. Grijalva’s constituents, I urge him to show more concern for people and their economic environment.
2012 U.S. copper production at highest level in 3 years—U.S.G.S.
U.S. production of refined copper in 2012 decreased by about 3% from that in 2011, the U.S. Geological Survey observed in a Mineral Industry Survey made public Thursday [http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/copper/mis-201212-coppe.pdf] .
Nevertheless, mine production for the full-year 2012 was at its highest level since 2009, according to the USGS.
Copper mining production increases in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico were partially upset by lower production in Utah, “where production at Kennecott Utah Copper’s Bingham Canyon Mine decreased by 32,000 metric tons.”
“Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) reported that owing to restart of mining and milling at its Chino Mine, production from its New Mexico mines rose to 103,000 t, a 55% increase from production in 2011,” said the agency. “With ramp up at China continuing through 2013, FCX projected New Mexico production to rise to more than 150,000 t in 2014.”
The Geological Survey reported that 1,170,000 metric tons of recoverable copper was mined in the U.S. last year, up from 1,110,000 metric tons of copper mined in 2011.
M. Lee Allison
State Geologist & Director
Arizona Geological Survey
416 W. Congress, #100
Tucson, AZ 85701
+1 520 209 4121
America’s Growing Minerals Deficit – The U.S. is now tied for last, with Papua New Guinea, in the time it takes to get a permit for a new mine.
America’s Growing Minerals Deficit
The U.S. is now tied for last, with Papua New Guinea, in the time it takes to get a permit for a new mine.
After every election, there’s a mad scramble in Washington over the must-make-it-happen agenda for the newly inaugurated president and Congress. There are welcome signs from the White House’s own Material Genome Initiative that securing America’s access to critical metals and minerals will be high on the list.
A good thing, too. Jobs and capital increasingly flow to countries that command the resources to power modern manufacturing, and American manufacturing is more dependent on metals and minerals access than ever before. Yet there is no country on the planet where it takes longer to get a permit for domestic mining. Among other consequences of this red tape, there are now 19 strategic metals and minerals for which the U.S. is currently 100% import-dependent—and for 11 of them a single country, China, is among the top three providers.
Even so, the president’s interest in the subject is a double-edged sword: Will U.S. policies be guided by sound science? Or will they be unduly influenced by environmental politics—despite the fact that many minerals we need are essential components for the production of green energy?
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy underlined the importance of this access in a Jan. 14 statement. “A century ago, plentiful elements like iron, lead, and copper fueled our Nation’s transition to an industrial economy. But today, many of the materials that characterize the industrial cutting-edge—such as rare earths, indium, and lithium—are not as naturally abundant or easy to access as their predecessors.”
The implication that we’ve entered a brave new world where arcane “technology metals” replace their industrial precursors is a bit misleading, though. The situation is actually more acute. The country’s metals dependency is even more pronounced than the White House indicates—and some of those metals and minerals, important in many processes, are not just “cutting-edge” ones like rare earths and indium.
General Electric, GE -0.22% for instance, is now using 72 of the first 82 elements on the periodic table in its product-manufacturing mix. Not just iron, lead and copper, either. GE also needs zinc, aluminum, tin and nickel—elements that the American Resources Policy Network argues are best understood as “gateway metals,” resources whose byproducts include scores of critical metals recovered during mining.
Consider copper, which serves as a gateway to 21 elements on the periodic table, collectively supporting transportation, manufacturing, modern medicine and the major alternative-energy sources to power the clean technology of the future. Copper can also be processed to produce selenium and tellurium (used in solar power), molybdenum (used in steel super-alloys), and rhenium (used in jet engines, lead-free gasoline and treatments for liver and bone cancers). Finally, copper is sometimes found with rare-earth elements which are used in alternative-energy production, for wind turbines, electric-vehicle batteries and compact-fluorescent light bulbs.
The country’s advanced weapons systems are equally—and increasingly—metals-intensive. Measured in metric tons, copper is the second-most-used metal in defense applications. In April 2009, the Department of Defense reported that a shortage of copper had caused a “significant weapon system production delay for DOD.”
The White House’s Material Genome Initiative says its goal is to “support U.S. institutions in the effort to discover, manufacture, and deploy advanced materials twice as fast, at a fraction of the cost.” The need for speed is accurate, but it’s going to prove difficult for American innovators to be twice as fast when America’s mine permitting process is easily twice as slow as in other mining nations.
The U.S. has domestic resources for 18 of those 19 metals and minerals we now exclusively import from abroad. But a maze of government regulations has made mining them here too difficult. That’s the consistent finding of the annual Behre Dolbear Country Rankings for Mining Investment, known in the mining world as the “Where-Not-to-Mine Report.” The U.S. is currently tied for last place (with Papua New Guinea) in the time it takes to permit a new mine—seven to 10 years on average.
In a world where the technology industry regards a year as an eternity, waiting a decade for new supplies of critical technology metals will severely hamper America’s ability to innovate. Without significant reform of the country’s mining-permit process, the U.S. may be starved of the resources to build everything from smartphones to weapons systems, impairing both the economy and national security.
Reform could begin with streamlining the permitting process to get rid of redundancies at the local, state and federal levels, so the process can run concurrently. Among other benefits, this would mean that environmental challenges and litigation—bitter ironies given the fact that the mined metals and minerals are needed for many forms of green energy—do not set the permit process back repeatedly.
All that will depend on whether the White House initiative is the first step toward a strategic-resource policy that asserts the importance of domestic metals and minerals exploration. Or will the initiative bring only a federally funded study group writing what might prove to be the definitive white paper on the industrial decline of the U.S.?
Mr. McGroarty is president of American Resources Policy Network, a nonpartisan education and public-policy research organization based in Washington, D.C.
Please join us in recognizing the Mining
Friday, February 15, 2013
GJX Hospitality Tent
Today on Buckmaster – We’ve got a newsmaker interview with the newly re-elected Pima County Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik. Plus, Bill Assenmacher and Rick Grinnell of the Tucson-based Southern Arizona Business Coalition.
ASARCO recently purchased a new bus for the Mine Tours offered by the Mineral
Discovery Center. The arrival date was Wednesday December 5th.
The vehicle, a 2013 Starcraft, has a 40 passenger seat capacity and a fully automatic
wheelchair lift. With this new acquisition the Discovery Center expects to continue to
offer excellent service to the thousands of visitors that take the tour every year.