Amber Smith is president and CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber.
Arizona is a mining state. To this day, Arizona mining companies produce 65 percent of the copper in the United States. This history of mining in our region runs deep, most prominently when Tombstone was the largest city between New Orleans and San Francisco soon after Ed Schieffelin struck silver in the late 1870s.
Yet, as reported in the Arizona Daily Star, three organizations are filing suit in the latest attempt to stop the Rosemont project, a mining project named after the mining community that inhabited the area in the late 1890s.
The process to open a mine today is painstakingly arduous. The Forest Service initiated the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process in March 2008, and that process closed in December 2013. During that time, 19 public hearings and open houses were conducted, and more than 36,000 comments were filed.
Rosemont Copper Co. is following the federal process and will ultimately be required to abide by the stipulations set out in the EIS . But despite millions of dollars spent and countless hours modifying plans based on public comment, that doesn’t seem to stop groups from adding additional roadblocks.
The Tucson Metro Chamber has a longstanding position in support of the Rosemont project . But it’s more than just supporting a company trying to operate and ultimately hire over 400 people, adding to the growth of our local economy. It’s also in support of an industry.