Rosemont Copper: Marana supports, OV is neutral - The Explorer: News

Rosemont Copper: Marana supports, OV is neutral

Kai says it’s not Marana’s concern

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Posted: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 3:00 am

While the Oro Valley Town Council took a neutral stance on the Rosemont Mine project last month, the Marana Town Council recently voted 6-1 to support the controversial project.

During the July 19 meeting, the Marana Town Council approved the resolution, with Councilman Herb Kai voting no.

Kai said he’s not against the jobs the Rosemont will create, but doesn’t feel the Town of Marana should get involved.

“It seems like we’re so far away that it’s really none of Marana’s concern,” said Kai. “Regionally, we all need help, but we are just too far removed.”

Mayor Ed Honea said it’s because of the jobs Rosemont will bring to the region that Marana needs to take a positive stance.

“We need jobs here now,” he said. “(Rosemont) is going to put millions into the school districts and pump billions into the economy over the next 20 years. We can’t turn this stuff away.”

With a struggling economy, Town Manager Gilbert Davidson agreed that jobs are needed now, while noting Marana itself benefits from several mining operations.

The Rosemont Mine, proposed in the Santa Rita Mountains east of Marana on State Route 83, should produce 400 jobs immediately and is expected to create another 2,000 jobs in the future.

The Marana Chamber of Commerce also has endorsed the project.

In June, the Oro Valley Town Council didn’t vote to support the mine, but took a step up from its 2007 position.

In 2007, just after the Rosemont Mine project was proposed, the Oro Valley council along with Pima County voted not to support the project.

After a lengthy discussion in June, council members voted 5-2 to take a neutral stance. Councilmen Bill Garner and Barry Gillaspie voted against the measure.

After five years of trying to get the project off the ground, Rosemont Copper in June received good news from the U.S. Forest Service.

The U.S. Forest Service released its draft environmental impact statement on June 2, recommending the project move forward.

While Rosemont Copper has garnered support from regional entities due to the economic benefit mining in the Santa Ritas could bring, there is still plenty of opposition.

Pima County has been the largest opposition to date, with District 4 Supervisor Ray Carroll leading the charge.

With the Santa Ritas in Carroll’s district, the supervisor says the mine will not benefit the economy as much as Rosemont Copper claims.

The Friends of the Santa Ritas are also against the project due to the irreparable damage they say the copper mine will cause to the mountains.

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