Dozens of residents showed up for a Rosemont Copper Mine meeting in the Quail Creek community of Green Valley Wednesday night.
Rosemont Copper officials say the proposed mine will pump about a billion dollars into the Pima County economy but residents are concerned about the cost it will have on the environment.
Rosemont Copper officials tell me they are pretty close to beginning construction, waiting on just one more permit but opponents of this mine are questioning that statement, saying the issue is far from over.
"What Rosemont is saying could not be farther from the truth. The permit process is still up in the air. Both the aquifer permit and the air quality permit are in the appeals stages at the state level," said Caroline Patrick, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas President.
Rosemont Copper officials say a water permit is all that's left. They do not expect the appeals to go through and hope to begin construction before the end of this year.
Residents say they have not given up on this fight.
"This is far from over," Patrick said. "They're far from having just one permit left. That's just not the case."
Dozens showed up to learn about the potential impact the mine would have on the community. Members of the environmental group Save the Scenic Santa Ritas worry about this beautiful landscape turning into a huge open pit right in their backyard
They also worry about the impact it will have on air and water quality, not to mention the 850 foot tall pile of tailings left behind once the mining is complete.
"It would not just be a giant pit. It would be a mile wide," Patrick said.
"I am also concerned about the giant pit lake thats going to be left here thats about 1,300 feet deep, covering over 200 acres," said John Kozma with Save the Scenic Santa Ritas.
In a statement, Rosemont officials say they plan to be good stewards of the environment. The company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to help preserve the environment, hired more than 200 consultants to guide them and they plan to double and triple line the facility and ponds to prevent water from leaching out.
Members of Save the Scenic Santa Ritas say they're not against mining. They are just against this particular mine and its location.
Another big concern residents have is the number of jobs Rosemont officials say this mine will bring. Rosemont officials estimate the proposed mine will bring in 10,000 construction jobs and 450 full time jobs.
Opponents of the mine feel that number is over-inflated. Rosemont officials say they have two studies done by economists at The University of Arizona to back up their claims.
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