Resolution mine official calls permitting process a barrier to business – by Dustin Quiroz (Cronkite News Arizona PBS – March 21, 2017)

WASHINGTON – The Resolution Copper Mine in Arizona would be operating by now in most countries, but is still years away from getting all the permits it needs to begin mining in the U.S., a company official testified Tuesday.

Nigel Steward, managing director of copper and diamonds for Rio Tinto, the multinational mining company developing the Resolution project, told a House Natural Resources subcommittee that “outdated, inefficient” permitting is a “major barrier” to mining companies.

“To date, Rio Tinto has spent over $1.3 billion on the Resolution project for permitting, studies and project shaping, the project is years away from a final permit,” Steward said in his prepared testimony. “In other countries, this project would likely be coming to the end of the permitting process.”

But one Arizona representative argued for the necessity of the regulations that he said are there to protect the public from potential health and environmental hazards. “One of the reasons we have regulations in is to make sure environmental, public health and all other attributes of community impact are taken into account before a project is approved,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, after the hearing.

Their remarks came at a hearing on the “importance of domestically sourced raw materials for infrastructure projects,” at a time when demand for those materials is expected to rise.

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