One of the largest, deepest mines in the U.S. could open in the Tonto National Forest

Public comment period for Resolution Copper Mine, land exchange ending soon


PHOENIX – The comment period for the Resolution Copper Mine that would disturb approximately 11 square miles of land in the Tonto National Forest near the Town of Superior, ends on November 7. The project would also include a land exchange.

If approved, it would be one of the largest and deepest underground mines in the United States, extending 1,000 feet deep and eventually creating a crater approximately two miles long, according to the Tonto National Forest’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

The Resolution mine will destroy the Oak Flat Campground, which is about an hour east of Phoenix and an area considered sacred by the San Carlos Apache Tribe. The tribe has publicly opposed the mine for about five years, holding demonstrations, protests and marches to “Save Oak Flat.”

Chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, Terry Rambler, told the Phoenix New Times this August that the mine was an “example of environmental justice” because the DEIS failed to acknowledge the religious significance of Oak Flat in the Apache’s religion.

If the mine is approved by the National Forest it would also include a land exchange, giving 2,422 acres of Tonto Forest lands, which include the 760-acre Oak Flat Parcel, to the mining company. In exchange, Resolution Copper would give the National Forest 5,376 acres of its private lands.

“The private lands that would become federal lands are located in various areas of Arizona including high-priority conservation lands that would become part of the San Pedro Riparian and Las Cienegas national conservation areas,” according to the project’s website.

One of the parcels the forest service would gain from the land exchange is Tangle Creek, which is located in the heart of Bloody Basin about 35 miles north of the Town of Cave Creek. The parcel is approximately 148 acres, according to Resolution Copper.

The electronic web from and instructions on how to comment, along with the DEIS are available on the project’s website at (resolutionmineEIS,us).

The public can also submit written comments by mail to: Resolution EIS Comments, PO Box 34468 Phoenix, AZ 85067-4468. Written comments must be postmarked no later than November 7.

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