Florence Reminder & Blade Tribune
Florence should not be the guinea pig
Letter to the Editor
Published: Thursday, May 12, 2011 4:12 AM MST
Florence Reminder & Blade-Tribune To my fellow residents of Florence:
After attending both Curis’ and ‘Protect Our Water, Our Future’s’ informational meetings, as well as doing lots of online research, phone calls to various regulatory agencies and talking with experts in hydrogeology, mining, and water testing firms, I have come to the conclusion that this proposed mine is not in the best interest for Florence. There are a number of widely varying reasons why, but the commonality between most of them is the riskiness of the project itself. First, we have a company, Curis Resources, which has no assets except the land where the proposed mine will be. If there’s no mine, there’s no Curis. Therefore, if there are any costly problems down the road, such as hazardous waste cleanup or polluted water, there will be no Curis around to pay for it, and guess who will get the bill? US. Too risky! Next, they want us to change our town’s General Plan to accommodate their mine, even though they purchased their land zoned, for residential/commercial. Everyone else in town purchased their homes or land under the same General Plan and had some sense of certainty that their investment was safe, because the people of Florence created the General Plan update just a few years ago to show potential investors what we, as a town, wanted. If the mine opens, perhaps nobody would want to buy a home in Anthem. Why would they want to live next to a copper mine? I know I wouldn’t have bought a home here if I had known this could happen. The General Plan said Curis’ land would be residential and commercial. It was even rumored a Target store might open up on Hunt Highway near Felix Road someday. I doubt they’ll be putting in a Target next to a copper mine. This project is not fair to those that bought into the General Plan over the past few years, such as Pulte, Southwest Value Partners, and all the new homeowners in Anthem @ Merrill Ranch. Thirdly, the EPA conducted a study of the mining process Curis hopes to
use. This was done at the site where they plan to mine, back in 1999. The title for the study is “Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials in the Southwestern Copper Belt of Arizona.” Found on page 30 of this study, the proposed mine, then called BHP Copper Florence In-Situ Project, is described in very technical terms. In their conclusion, the author(s) state, “These data indicate that the PLS produced from the Magma Florence in-situ projects contain very high levels of radionuclides and that they are leachable.” The PLS is the pregnant leach solution that is sucked back up out of the ground with the copper in it. Along with the copper, come other, less useful and sometimes even deadly, compounds, metals and radionuclides. Most significant are the radionuclides Uranium and Radon. These are leached and concentrated to extremely high and deadly levels within the PLS, as the study showed. This is the solution that Curis hopes to be sucking up out of the ground with the copper in it. Hopefully they won’t have any leaking pipes as it goes through our drinking water over the next 20 years. I know most of my plumbing will last that long in my house, but if it doesn’t, it won’t be spewing highly toxic chemicals into our town’s water supply like Curis’ would. I’d rather Florence not be the next version of “BP’s oil spill” shown on the nightly news. Florence should not be the guinea pig for in-situ mining. Remember, this type of mining has NEVER been done before as it will be done here in Florence. Why should we risk our town’s drinking water supply to find out IF Curis can do it safely? Finally, I’d like to address the financial benefits for the town that Curis keeps boasting. They have been spending lots of money trying to convince us that this mine is in our best interest. They have hired lots of Florence’s most influential people and have them going around wearing Curis logo shirts, handing out copper colored pens, hats, and showing up to give catered dinners while they show us very slick power point presentations about all the great things Curis is going to do for our little town. They show plans for baseball fields and a riparian walkway down by the Gila River that they “plan” to put in right after they get their re-zoning through the town council. Funny thing is, Curis has already shown that “plans” don’t mean anything to them. They bought their land “planned” for residential housing and commercial, and are now trying to buy our local community leaders to sell the idea that our town’s General Plan is wrong, and THEIR plan is right for Florence. Please join me in letting our town council know that OUR plan is just fine the way it is, and Curis’ plan is just too risky! Now, if Curis wants to buy my home for what I paid for it 3 years ago, I will gladly move to a town that cares more for its citizens wants than that of a foreign company.
Dr. John A. Riley, Florence