Associated Press – TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona’s copper industry, environmentalists and recreation groups are fighting over the future of three national monuments in the state.
As the U.S. Interior Department reviews the size of 21 national monuments across the country, the multinational mining company Asarco is asking that more than 11,000 acres be pulled from the 129,000-acre Ironwood Forest National Monument northwest of Tucson so it can mine more copper there, next to the company’s Silver Bell copper mine, the Arizona Daily Star reports (http://bit.ly/2wErswa .)
Asarco say its needs use of the 11,000 acres because it’s unable to make economic use of 880 acres it owns and 4,050 federally owned acres on which it has filed mining claims within monument boundaries.
The Silver Bell mine, which borders the monument’s southwest side, has produced copper and other minerals for more than 65 years and lies within one of five historic mining districts near and inside the monument, according to a letter the company sent to Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke said.
But Asarco says it’s been prevented from exploring the monument land to assess its mineral deposits — an act it says would be in accord with the 1872 Mining Law.