West Plant Reclamation
Making the Superior area a cleaner and safer place to live and work
Resolution Copper is committed to completing a major environmental reclamation project for the West Plant site near Superior affected by previous mining operations. We are continuing land reclamation work to address legacy mining residues by removing soil contaminants and restoring the area with natural vegetation. We’ve already rehabilitated more than 130 acres of the site and consolidated waste from the old mine, improved stormwater management and closed historic tailings and waste rock piles with engineered covers planted with native vegetation, making what’s left of Magma’s operation better than when we found it from a safety and health perspective. We have invested $40 million in our land reclamation work so far, and when we’re done we will have invested about $80 million in the project.
We’re dedicated to providing transparent information on reclamation and on how Resolution Copper is playing an instrumental role in preserving Superior’s cultural heritage. We invite you to email your questions to email@example.com or stop by our Mine Information Office located at 402 W. Main Street. You can also call us at 520-689-3392 to ask questions and give feedback over the phone.
For additional details on Magma Copper Smelter demolition in Q&A form, please refer to this document: FAQ Smelter demolition
Resolution Copper is in the process of executing plans for the remaining work on the West Plant property that was previously occupied by the Magma Copper Mine north of Superior, which operated from the early 1900s until the mid-1990s. In 2015 we announced that the West Plant reclamation plans include removal of the Magma Smelter complex, which we understand has great cultural and historical value in the Superior community. Multiple technical studies have been conducted on the Smelter structures in recent years. Based on the results of these studies, the company has validated and confirmed the necessity of the previous decision that a proactive approach is required to clean contaminants out of the soil and eliminate a safety threat to our employees posed by the unstable Smelter structures.
The Smelter chimney stack, in particular, has been failing over the years and it is only a matter of time before it comes down on its own. Technical studies show an unacceptable risk of future collapse under heavy stress from high winds. The stack’s current condition does not meet building code requirements under high sustained wind conditions. Wind loading is a measurement of how much stress a structure can withstand from variations in wind forces. As the stack deteriorates, bricks have been falling from it over the years and continue to fall, creating a hazard for people who work near it. Our proactive approach to safely bringing the stack down ensures it will happen in a controlled fashion while reducing impacts on soil, water, air and wildlife.
Removal and cleanup of the Magma Smelter are also necessary to complete environmental reclamation work, which includes proper disposal of contaminants such as arsenic, lead and copper present in buildings and surrounding soil. The Smelter complex contains the site’s highest concentrations of soils affected by metals from historical ore processing operations, and in order to clean up those contaminants, the structures must be taken down. Resolution Copper will carry out the work in keeping with our commitment to health, safety and environmental stewardship. We are conducting all reclamation of the West Plant site in accordance with an agreement with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) under the Voluntary Remediation Program and according to Aquifer Protection Permit requirements.
The Resolution Copper team is proud of our work to clean up the former Magma Copper site and make it safer. At the same time, we understand the historical value of the Smelter complex and its significance to Superior residents. We know the chimney stack is an important landmark which has come to symbolize the town’s mining history. That’s why the company is working with citizens on cultural heritage initiatives designed to preserve the Magma Smelter’s place in the rich mining legacy of Superior.
Resolution Copper has committed to funding a major legacy project to enshrine Superior’s mining history. Under an agreement with the Town of Superior, three project proposals will be submitted to Resolution Copper by the end of 2018. The Town’s proposals are based on several months of gathering feedback from the community on how residents would like to see Superior’s mining history honored and preserved.
Resolution Copper is also funding major improvements to Superior’s public park on US Highway 60, known as the US 60 Park & Caboose Visitor Center for its feature landmark, an old train caboose converted into a welcoming informational hub for visitors to Superior. The US 60 Park improvement project scope includes working with the town to enhance the mining history trail, upgrade existing playground equipment to include new mining themed elements, in addition to new landscaping. Resolution Copper is also collaborating with the Town of Superior to display a number of historical photographs of the Magma Copper smelter at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum to celebrate the community’s mining history.
West Plant Reclamation Project milestones & key dates:
- Begin removing Smelter buildings in August 2018.
- Finish removal of Smelter buildings in October 2018.
- Controlled demolition of Smelter chimney stack in early November. The exact date and time will be announced soon and may be shifted depending on weather conditions. Optimal weather is required for safe execution. Stack felling will only occur if winds are minimal on the scheduled day.
- Finish removal of contaminated debris in December 2018.
- Finish reclamation of surrounding soils in March 2019.
- Finish re-seeding and rehabilitation of Smelter site in April 2019.
Project updates will be posted on this web page periodically.
More information on reclamation work is available here: Reclamation Brochure 2018
The Resolution Copper mine is a long-term investment in Arizona that will access one of the largest undeveloped copper resources in the world. Through our industry-leading approach to mine development, we are working in partnership with communities, local businesses and institutions to help share the economic benefits of our project.