The passage of the Oak Flat Land Exchange -- that terrible piece of legislation buried within the depths of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act -- was the last major piece of news regarding the proposed Resolution Copper Mine near Superior, Arizona. This is the mine that would destroy the publicly owned Oak Flat -- the area sacred to the San Carlos Apache Tribe, and the place used for decades by rock climbers, campers and hikers.
A subsidiary of Rio Tinto and BHPBilliton (the two biggest metal mining companies in the world, by annual revenue and market capitalization) is proposing to mine copper ore deep underneath Oak Flat, near the town of Superior, an hour east of Phoenix. The copper deposit lies partially underneath the Oak Flat Campground, a unique and sacred place that was protected in the 1950’s from mining. Because Congress originally protected the area, it required an act of Congress to overturn this protection and hand over the land title to a private mining company.