David F. Briggs is a resident of Pima county and a geologist, who has intermittently worked as a consultant on the Rosemont Copper project since 2006.
Opponents claim the Rosemont copper project should not be allowed to be developed because most of the copper concentrates produced by this project will be exported for treatment by foreign smelters and refineries. The false premise of their argument is; “if the copper produced from Rosemont is not consumed here, this project will not benefit Americans.”
How many of you know that most of the copper-bearing materials collected at domestic recycling centers are also shipped to foreign facilities for treatment because the United States no longer has the capacity to treat these materials here? During 2011, recyclable materials containing 1,367,000 short tons of copper were exported to foreign countries for treatment. Most of this recyclable material (75.8%) was exported to China.
Should we also stop recycling copper because most of it is also shipped abroad for treatment? Isn’t recycling copper good for the environment?
How does denying Rosemont Copper an opportunity to develop its 21st century mining project restore our nation’s capacity to smelt and refine the copper concentrates produced by our domestic mining operations?
How does halting the Rosemont Copper project reduce our nation’s need to import a third of the refined copper we consume every year?
Just because Rosemont’s copper concentrates will be treated at foreign smelters and refineries does not necessarily imply that some of this copper will not find its way back to the United States. And even if none of the copper mined at Rosemont is returned to the United States, it will offset the refined copper imports we obtain from Chile, Canada and Peru, ultimately decreasing our nation’s dependence on foreign imports.
For the rest of this column, click here: http://tucsoncitizen.com/miningandyou/2014/01/05/americas-future-depends-on-decisions-we-make-today/