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Mining People Magazine

the town for generations, was a deterrent to investment and


“Technically we didn’t have to do the cleanup until the end, so

approximately 60 years from now,” says Klenk. “[But] for all the

investment we did in the community, I don’t think it would look

very positive if we hadn’t done this. Because, realistically, who

wants to move their business and their family to a town that has

this in the backyard?”

Reclamation of the hazardous eyesore is expected to be

complete this year, at a total cost of about $80 million. It is, for

the most part, done; no longer does the hazard loom above the


The reclamation project also included the removal of the old

smelter complex and related historic structures that proved

unstable. The history was documented, and other structures

– most notably the old mine hospital, which now houses

Resolution’s headquarters – have been rehabilitated.

The impact of reclamation of the site is already starting to be

visible with the opening of new businesses in town, Klenk says;

with the decades-old hazard removed, people are starting to

invest in the downtown. Superior, a small town about 60 miles

east of Phoenix with a population around 3,200, has seen

buildings spruced up and small businesses open in the last few


From both the reclamation project and the resulting efforts

within the community, he says, “The aesthetics of the town have

certainly changed for the better.”

21st Century Mining Community

Of course, with the new mine, Resolution is taking extra care to

ensure a new hazard is not created in the future. The site they

initially identified for tailings was three miles west of town, but

after taking broad input from the community and local tribes, a

different site was selected: several miles southeast of town, in

a historic mining area.

“It’s 20 miles from the nearest community, and it’s no longer

going to impact any areas or viewsheds that were widely viewed

as important to the communities or the tribes,” Klenk says. “It’s

really not advantageous from an operational standpoint – it’s

Before and after the environmental cleanup.

at that depth, the temperature, the technical aspect of what

we’re facing right now might not have been able to be tackled

30 years ago.”

A Big Cleanup

The copper deposit that Resolution will be mining is located

about three miles from the town of Superior, Arizona, and its

processing facilities will be closer to town; the tailings area will

be several miles out in the desert.

But when Resolution gained control of the old Magma Mine in

2004, it came with a looming legacy: 14 million tons of acid-

generating tailings ponds in seven separate areas and 2 million

tons of waste rock, with limited stormwater management and

contaminated soils. This hazard, which had been sitting above

Resolution continued







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