Early last year, Darrin Lewis paid $800,000 for a hardware store in a tiny Arizona town where mining giant Rio Tinto Plc (RIO.L) hopes to build one of the world’s largest underground copper mines.
Rio buys materials from Lewis’s Superior Hardware & Lumber for its Resolution mine site, accounting for a third of the store’s sales and helping to keep it afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.
But U.S. President Joe Biden put the mining project on hold last month in response to the concerns of Native Americans who say it will destroy sacred land and of environmentalists who worry it will gobble up water in a drought-stricken state.
That’s fueled anxiety among Lewis and others here in Superior, Arizona, who want to reap the economic benefits of a mine that would harvest more than 40 billion pounds of copper.
“I sunk everything I have into this place,” said Lewis, surrounded by hammer drills, wrenches and other goods in his store. “It would absolutely devastate us if this mine doesn’t open.”
For the rest of this article: https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/arizona-mining-fight-pits-economy-evs-against-conservation-culture-2021-04-19/