Sunday, October 28, 2012

Florence Loses Her Water

Curis Resources is in the process of exploiting a major copper discovery within a residential area of Florence, Arizona.  The mining company plans to do this with a controversial "in-situ" process that may destroy potability of the aquifer that supplies water to this major community of Arizona.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality granted Curis a permit to inject "billions of pounds of sulfuric acid into the subsurface in close proximity to an aquifer that supplies drinking water wells presently servicing approximately 83,000 people, and that will ultimately supply drinking water to thousands of more residents of a master-planned residential subdivision..."

The facts are straight forward; the implications, less so.

Dan Johnson stands at the BHP former well field at Florence Copper in Florence, Arizona.
Curis Florence Copper Mine Project "in-situ" mine site.
 Curis employee inspects wellheads that inject "recovery 
solution" (sulfuric acid) and retrieve "copper-bearing" 
As claimed by Florence residents, "...uranium  mining companies using similar extraction methods in Texas, Colorado and other states have never been able to restore the aquifer to pre-mining conditions....There is no enforceable backup plan to save our water aquifer if it is damaged or destroyed and, if the company goes bankrupt, there is no way to get our water back."

Dan Johnson, vice president of Environment and Technical Services, talks about the Curis Resources (Arizona) Inc. copper deposit at Florence Copper in Florence.
Curis employee explains that Curis' mining payroll will 
benefit Florence residents.  Curis will gain copper and the
city of Florence will lose it's water.  

The "Florence Copper" mine project might be more palatable to residents if the activity of the mining company was held, not to design specifications, but to performance specifications.  In other words, if drilling specifications were set out in such terms as, 1. we plan to drill in such a way as not to harm the aquifer or, 2. we will re-mediate any damage we cause. Instead, representations of the well are shown below.
 Probable arrangement of injection/retrieval wells.

Mining activity was triggered when copper reached $2.50/lb. The question is whether copper is worth more than water?