SUPERIOR, Ariz. (AP) — The kids care about the future of mining. But they also care about Native American rights. These kinds of contradictions and concerns lie in the background of Superior, a small town nestled in the mountains at the start of Pinal County’s Copper Corridor. Over 5,000 feet below the surface of Oak Flat, just to the east of Superior, lies a copper ore body that could be worth billions.
But that’s not all that lies under the surface of Superior. While publicly, city leaders and community members show support for the Resolution Copper project, others claim there is a silent contingent of locals who fear the impacts of the block-cave mining operation will destroy the town forever.
“People that are for the mine are very vocal,” said 71-year-old Sylvia Delgado-Barrett, a former miner who retired near Superior but whose family still live there, including mother, siblings, children and grandchildren. “Those of us against the mine, there are many people on our side.”
Support for the mine appears to follow an inverse-generational divide, as younger families and local students believe the mine will foster a resurgence in the city’s downtown corridor, while older residents, many of whom are former miners, harbor a deep distrust of the large mining companies that come in and extract without showing much concern for the mess they leave behind.
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