At Resolution Copper, we’re investing in our community, our state and our nation to create value for generations.  The proposed mine is currently in its permitting, planning and development stage.  We’re conducting a variety of technical studies necessary to lay the groundwork for a modern, world-class mine.

Inside the underground mine workings

Work continues to restore the historic No. 9 Shaft, originally constructed in 1971.  The project will rehabilitate the existing 4800-feet deep shaft, then extend it to approximately 7,000 feet below the surface, and link it with the newer No. 10 Shaft, completed in 2014.  Connecting the shafts will provide a second independent means of egress from underground along with improved infrastructure and ventilation.  We expect to finish the project in 2021.   The four-year effort is creating economic opportunities for the region and the state.  Resolution Copper is committed to local economic participation, so the No. 9 Shaft project continues to emphasize local hiring, local workforce development and local procurement whenever feasible options are available.

Reclamation at the West Plant site adjacent to Superior is also moving forward.  Cleaning the contaminated soil from historic smelting requires controlled demolition of the historic Magma Copper smelter complex, which also poses a safety threat.  The smelter chimney stack is scheduled to be knocked down in late October or early November of this year, depending on weather conditions.  Demolition of the smelter’s other buildings will be completed before the stack comes down.  We plan to complete removal of contaminated demolition debris in December 2018, finish removal of surrounding soils in the spring of 2019, then reseed and reclaim the smelter site in the months that follow.  Reclamation is a commitment as part of a voluntary consent decree administered by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, to remedy and clean up environmental impacts from previous mining and smelting operations.  As part of the decree, we have committed to completing the reclamation project in 2020.  When reclamation is complete, our West Plant site will be cleaner and safer.

Magma smelter aerial view

A major component of West Plant reclamation is the historical preservation research we are conducting to record and conserve the area’s mining history.  Our team managing the project has hired WestLand Resources to conduct architectural and industrial archeological studies on the smelter complex and surrounding mine property.  WestLand’s team is also producing a video documentary featuring interviews to capture oral histories of people who worked at the smelter and mill facilities.  We will make all collected historical materials available to the public.

Developing a world-class mine is a team effort

Under a new Memorandum of Understanding the company has with the Town of Superior, the town and Resolution Copper will work together to identify ways to memorialize Superior’s mining history and culture.  The Town will submit three proposals by the end of this year for a major legacy project.  We will share periodic updates as the historical preservation initiative and reclamation project both continue to move forward, connecting the future copper mine with the town’s history of mining.  Visit our West Plant reclamation page for the latest information.

Meanwhile, the comprehensive environmental and social review of the proposed mine and land exchange continues under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) expects to issue its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in May 2019, addressing comments received from the March to July 2016 public scoping period.  The EIS will then enter a public comment period, address the comments and then disclose to the public in a Final EIS.  The Final EIS for the mine plan and land exchange is expected to be published in the summer of 2020.  Check out the Resolution Copper EIS website for regular updates and notifications at www.resolutionmineeis.us.

An aerial view of operations at Oak Flat

Authorization of a final mine plan of operations only happens after the NEPA analysis is finished, and includes mitigations and other conditions of approval that minimize adverse environmental impacts on National Forest lands.  NEPA also addresses concerns of communities including Native American tribes.  By law, the Secretary of Agriculture must conduct government-to-government consultations with affected tribes to understand issues of concern.  Resolution Copper is then required to work with the Secretary to find mutually acceptable measures to address those concerns.

The Resolution Copper team is working hard to communicate information and provide regular updates to show the shared benefits as the mine progresses toward operational status.  We invite you to connect with us online through our website and social media channels, and to visit our Mine Information Offices in Superior and Globe.