Carolyn Shafer, Mission Coordinator and Board Member
Patagonia Area Resource Alliance
PARA Asks State Agency to Delay Permit Process for South32’s Hermosa Project in the Patagonia Mountains
Patagonia Area Resource Alliance raises concern over watershed impacts
PATAGONIA Arizona, Dec 1 2020— South32, an Australian mining company, wants to move its Hermosa Project in the Patagonia Mountains to actual mine production. It has asked the AZ Department of Environmental Quality (AZDEQ) to issue permits for a massive dewatering project in order to access its target minerals. South32 proposes to treat and discharge up to 1.6 billion gallons of water per year for up to four years into Harshaw Creek as part of the mine dewatering process. Patagonia Area Resource Alliance (PARA Watchdogs) retained the services of two hydrologists to model the proposed discharge into Harshaw Creek and its impact on the watershed. The study shows that the mining company has not adequately analyzed the impacts of such a persistent discharge upstream of the Town of Patagonia over a range of normal climate conditions, including periods of stormwater runoff, nor has it fully examined the impacts of mine dewatering on the watershed. PARA Watchdogs has asked AZDEQ to suspend the review process until such time as the mining company addresses the deficiencies identified by the hydrologists.
About Patagonia Area Resource Alliance: As a grassroots environmental nonprofit, our mission is to monitor the activities of mining companies and ensure the actions of these companies, and of local government agencies, have sustainable, long term benefits for our public lands, our water, our wildlife, and the ecosystem in which we all live. Learn more at: www.PatagoniaAlliance.org