Socio-ecological issues

The opening of the Rosemont copper mine is controversial, its project leading to a polarized situation. The local population is divided on the proposal of the company to build an open-pit mine in Pima County in the vicinity of protected areas.

At first glance one might think that the opposition between the protagonists who are engaged in the discussion of the project would be between those who claim that the project will create employment and those who insist on the preservation of groundwater and biodiversity protection. In other words, the global vision would be the pro-mine represented by the defenders of the economic interests of Rosemont and the anti-mine represented by the ecologists. However, when one considers the controversial aspect of the project, many facts deserve to be particularly highlighted:

1) All opponents against the Rosemont project are overall against mining in Arizona.

2) Different means are used by the protagonists to express their arguments through the media / courts / political expertise / scientific support

3) private expertise and public expertise do not reach the same conclusions, especially with regard to water issues and pollution. The lack of scientific precision and non-compliance with the legal framework of the private consulting firm employed by Rosemont are highlighted by public expertise.

4) The state and federal agencies that are engaged in the decision-making process disagree with each other on what the potential environmental impacts of mining would be, particularly with regard to environmental issues, Water and pollution.

5) Not all of these authorities have the same weight in the decision-making process (federal agencies such as the Federal Forest Agency, the Army Engineering Corps and the All have, in different ways, the capacity to stop or reverse the Rosemont project).

6) The legitimacy of the decision of a permit does not come only from an agency of the State but can also be confirmed by a court.

7) The approach to environmental concerns is part of the mining project: Rosemont itself is defined as an operation "managing mines of the 21st century and world leader in sustainable mining practices".

On this basis, it can be assumed that the controversies over Rosemont are the product of divergences of views between the various actors who disagree on the legitimacy of mining practices and their potential impacts. The issue is the role of public authorities in the regulation of environmental issues. As the authorities concerned do not share the same point of view on these issues, some give approval to the proposed mine and others are more reluctant to do so, the disagreement between pro-mining and counter-mines is increasing. On each side, local media, scientific expertise, political support, courts are the means by which the protagonists tend to voice their arguments in order to make them legitimate.