Tonto National Forest Authorizes Resolution Copper to Begin Collecting Data for Proposed Tailings Storage Facility

PHOENIX, August 25, 2016—For Immediate Release.
Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth has approved both an environmental assessment and a plan of operations allowing Resolution Copper Mining, LLC, to gather necessary data to help evaluate possible construction of a large tailings storage facility on National Forest Lands.

Bosworth approved the environmental assessment Aug. 22, 2016, and the plan of operations Aug. 24, 2016.  The approvals do not authorize the construction of the tailings storage facility itself but rather only allow for the acquisition of data related to groundwater and soils via construction of wells, test pits, forest road improvements and laydown yards. The proposed tailings facility would encompass an area approximately 6,400 acres in size.

Baseline activities will affect approximately 75 acres located on public lands managed by the Tonto National Forest approximately  4.5 miles west of Superior, Arizona. Activities will include construction of temporary access roads and drilling/trenching sites; improvement of existing access roads; and installation of groundwater monitoring wells, geotechnical bore holes and trenches. All activities are outside of the Oak Flat area where the proposed underground copper mine is planned and will not impact camping and recreation activities near Oak Flat.

According to Bosworth, the project formally identified as the “Baseline Hydrological and Geotechnical Data Gathering Activities Plan of Operations” will allow Resolution Copper Mining to gather critical information necessary for the evaluation of the proposed facility. 

“Data provided from this project will be critical to understand the baseline environmental conditions and to support a reasoned choice among alternatives for the proposed tailings facility in the ongoing Environmental Impact Statement under way for the larger mine development proposal,” Bosworth said. “The project also will provide data that will inform Resolution Copper Mining’s ongoing design efforts for the proposed tailings facility.”

These approvals conclude a rigorous three-year review period during which numerous public comments were received and project modifications were made by Resolution Copper Mining to mitigate project impacts.

As part of the federal authorization for this project, Resolution Copper Mining has provided a bond in the amount of $1.45 million to guarantee adequate reclamation of any disturbances caused by project activities.

Resolution Baseline Hydrological & Geotechnical Data Gathering Activities Environmental Assessment

Source: 

EIS Status Update - Mar 2019

As of March 15, a Draft EIS update is now available under the ‘Public Involvement’ tab. To view the update, click here.

EIS Timeline - Feb 2019

  1. Proponent submits revised Plan of Operations [Sep 2014]
  2. Federal Register Notice of Intent to prepare EIS [Mar 2016]
  3. Public scoping period and scoping meetings
    [5 meetings between Mar-Jun 2016; comment period extended from 60 days to 120 days, closed Jul 18, 2016 ]
  4. Compile and review existing data
  5. Prepare project description and identify project alternatives
  6. Publish Alternatives Evaluation Report [Sep 2017]
  7. We Are Here
    Validate Baseline Information; analyze environmental effects
  8. Prepare Draft EIS
  9. Federal Register Notice of Availability of Draft EIS
  10. 90-day public review and comment period, with public meetings
  11. Respond to public comments and prepare Final EIS
  12. Federal Register Notice of Availability of Final EIS and Draft ROD
  13. 45-day Public Objection Period
  14. Resolve objections to Final EIS and draft ROD
  15. Issue Final Record of Decision

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Forest Points of Contact

Media & General Info
John Scaggs
jscaggs@fs.fed.us

Project Manager
Resolution Copper
Mary Rasmussen
mcrasmussen@fs.fed.us

Apache Leap Special Management Area
Apache Leap SMA website