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UK/Australian multinational mining companies worth more than $300 billion would acquire title to $140 billion in minerals

Arizona Mining Reform Coalition * EARTHWORKS

Washington,DC — On Wednesday December 16th, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to mark up S. 409, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2009. The current version of the legislation, as well as an amended version of the legislation being presented as a substitute, would fleece the American taxpayer out of billions of dollars.

Resolution Copper, who is proposing to build the mine, claims that the potential copper/molybdenum mine, near Superior, AZ contains as much as $140 billion in minerals at today's prices, and even more if metals prices rise over the projected 66-year life of the mine. If the land exchange moves forward, the taxpayers will lose their share of these minerals. The company is a subsidiary of Rio Tinto (UK) and BHP Billiton (Australia) which together are worth more than $300 billion.

Taxpayers deserve a fair return for any minerals taken out of public hands and given to private interests. A reasonable assessment of the mineral value is needed along with an 8% net smelter royalty to ensure the taxpayer receives a fair deal.

The Apache, Yavapai, Hopi and O'Odham tribes have also expressed concern over the land exchange and the potential harm that could come to sacred sites such as Apache Leap if the land exchange is to move forward without the consent of the area tribes. The land exchange legislation, as proposed, does not adequately address tribal issues.


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EARTHWORKS is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the destructive impacts of mineral development, in the U.S. and worldwide.

The Arizona Mining Coalition is comprised of Arizona groups and individuals that work to ensure that responsible mining contributes to healthy communities, a healthy environment, and, when all costs are factored in, is a net benefit to Arizona.

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