I would like to comment on the statements made by the president of mining company SouthS32 (S32) in the South32 Hermosa Project News of April, 2021, who argued that his mine is needed to meet the Biden Administration’s electrification and renewable energy objectives by making availability of the “required” metals less “reliant on overseas supply chains.”
First of all, S32 is an Australian company that will export concentrates from ores mined in the Patagonia Mountains, to overseas smelters. That means that US industry and consumers still will be dependent on overseas companies and governments, which is far from the promise of a “domestic” supply. Consequently mainly foreign pockets are filled so that the suggested “benefit to all” is far from reality as well.
Secondly, history shows that many “required” metals can be replaced by alternative materials that are performing better and can be produced without the enormous environmental impacts of hard rock mining. Well known are carbon fiber construction materials but also in the mentioned batteries for electric vehicles, conventional metals and chemistries are rapidly made obsolete by more efficient energy storage technologies. In the real world, this is a goal of the Biden Administration as well.
To bridge any time gap to develop those alternatives, money invested in new mines like Hermosa should rather be used to extract the millions of tons of residual metals from the thousands of legendary mine-tailing mountains across the country. This may be less profitable to S32 but it is a reckoning to the US taxpayers who, in reality, have to forever protect their groundwater and health from acid leakage and toxic dust due to past, very profitable mining operations.
Last but not least, global warming and unchecked residential and agricultural developments are causing water in reservoirs like Lake Mead to reach the reality of Dead Pool level. Being part of the Colorado River Watershed, this ecological disaster obviously disqualifies S32 from getting a permit to “dewater” the Patagonia Mountains just to realize maximum financial return for a few.
Thank You for Donations
A very sincere thank you on behalf of the Town of Patagonia, the Sky Islands Tourism Association and the Patagonia Volunteer Fire Department for the donations from the community that allowed the exceptional fireworks display on the 4th of July.
Our gratitude goes to: Dick & Phyllis Klosterman, Long Realty Sonoita, the Bergier Family Limited Partnership, Janice Pulliam, Jan Herron and Dos Cabezas Wine Works, as well as to the many folks who generously contributed to the donation jars around town.
We would also like to extend a big round of applause to Denise Bowdon who spearheaded the effort to make the 4th of July 2021 event a memorable one. The day that began with a parade and ended with the fireworks extravaganza was the perfect small town celebration of Independence Day. As a note received with one of the contributions said, “We’re so happy the 4th of July celebration has returned to Patagonia.”