Rio Grande Chapter Executive Committee
Gila Resources Information Project Executive Director
New Mexico Copper Corporation wants to re-establish a polymetallic mine and processing facility near Hillsboro.
The Copper Flat Mine is not the answer to Sierra County’s economic woes. Just like Grant County’s copper mines, it will be subject to the boom-and-bust economic cycle caused by volatile global copper prices and will potentially create a huge environmental liability for the public to clean up. Read more about the problems with the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and mine plan here.
The 2,190-acre project would use BLM-managed public land and private property to mine and process copper and molybdenum. The Bureau of Land Management has requested public review and comment on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
The Copper Flat Mine will cause surface and groundwater contamination; will reduce the amount of water flowing to adjacent streams and springs, the Rio Grande and Caballo Lake; and will have significant negative impacts on wildlife, air quality, roads, traffic, recreation and tourism, cultural resources, and the economy.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement does not provide all the required information to fully evaluate the proposed action and alternatives, contrary to the requirements of National Environmental Policy Act.
The DEIS does not comply with the BLM’s regulations for surface management, since it lacks required information necessary for evaluating the mine-plan proposal and alternatives, including water-management plans, monitoring plans, post-closure management plan, interim management plan, and reclamation cost estimate.
The proposed action and alternatives do not comply with the New Mexico Mining Act, since a pit lake would be created at mine closure that most likely will require “perpetual care” to achieve water-quality standards, potentially over hundreds of years.