It covers 70 percent of the earth’s surface. It’s a precious resource and something we just can’t live without. It’s used in every aspect of our human existence. It’s water. And at Resolution Copper, we take water seriously. That’s why we are doing everything possible to protect and reuse this critical resource, particularly here in Arizona.

Water in mining is needed to make bare rock give up its valuable minerals. But water is also a valuable utility in other aspects of mining operations, like dust control or cooling. The United States produces a wide variety of mined commodities from gold to copper – minerals used in everything from pharmaceuticals to high-tech products, like wind generators and solar panels. All these modern necessities would not be possible without the use of water in mining.

Here’s what you should know:

  • An acre-foot of water is enough to cover an acre of land — about the size of a football field — one foot deep
  • The Resolution Copper Mine Plan of Operations, deemed complete by the USFS in 2014, would use between 16,000 and 20,000 acre-feet of water every year, and on average about 12,000 acre-feet per year
  • For the past several years, we’ve been purchasing Colorado River water from the Central Arizona Project and storing it for future use
  • A smaller portion of the water we will use will come from dewatering water deep within the bedrock, between 4,000 and 7,000 feet below the surface of the earth in the mine workings
    Already, we’ve stored enough water to sustain our operations for more than half the proposed mine’s life
  • Our concentrator, which would be used to pull copper out of the rock, will make use of reused and recycled water
  • Throughout our operations, we’ll use water responsibly and recycle it whenever possible

Reclaiming water

As we work to gain access to areas we want to mine, we must ‘dewater’, or remove water deep within the bedrock so we can work safely. Once the water is removed it’s treated and sent to an irrigation district where it’s used to grow crops – a beneficial reuse of dewatering water. The water is continuously monitored to be sure we meet standards. Once the mine begins operating we will also recycle the water we take out of the rock in our processing facility.

  • 3 billion: Gallons of water beneficially reused from the old Magma Mine since 2009
  • 4,000 feet: Distance the water travels from underground to the surface
  • 27 miles: Length of the pipeline that brings treated water to provide crop irrigation
  • 6,800: Acres of farmland irrigated

Precipitation data at Resolution Copper’s West Plant site

See real-time precipitation data collected from our meteorological station at Resolution Copper’s West Plant site in Superior, Arizona.

Review the data here.

More information

We’re pumping water out of the old Magma Mineshaft, treating it at an on-site facility and transporting it through a 27-mile pipeline we constructed to irrigate 5,000 acres of Arizona farmland. Before the water leaves the plant, and when it arrives at its agricultural destination, we test the water to make sure it meets strict standards for safety. We’re proud that the project was honored with the 2010 Valley Forward Crescordia award for environmental excellence, but we’re even more proud that it’s bringing needed water to Arizona farmers. Learn more about our dewatering project, state-of-the-art water monitoring technology and learn how dewatering is not affecting shallow surface water features in the area of our mine including Oak Flat.