We were disappointed by the false and misleading comments made by Johnson Utilities in its May 2016 Newsletter regarding the Florence Copper Project.
Customers are entitled to a higher level of accuracy and professionalism from their water utility.
To correct the errors and set the record straight, Florence Copper offers the following factual information upon which readers can rely:
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has announced its intention to issue a Significant Amendment to the Temporary Aquifer Protection Permit issued to Florence Copper by the agency in September 2013. “Significant Amendment” refers to the public process that must be undertaken by ADEQ before the amendments are adopted.
This permit is being re-issued with amendments subsequent to an administrative appeal in which the vast majority of the original permit was upheld. Those sections of the permit that have been upheld are not subject to further public review.
This decision by ADEQ confirms they have completed their substantive review and are satisfied with the conditions under which the Florence Copper Production Test Facility can safely operate.
The Florence Copper Project is technically sound. Local groundwater supplies are protected – the science is clear on that.
This is a well-studied mineral deposit that has ideal conditions for recovering copper without the environmental disturbance or impact associated with traditional mining operations.
There will be no open pit, minimal disturbance to site topography or land use, no rock piles, and no mine tailing materials at the site.
Concentrated sulfuric acid is a “harsh chemical” but that is not what is being used at Florence Copper. The solution used to dissolve the copper oxide underground is 99.5% water and one-half of one percent sulfuric acid. Many household products contain a much higher percentage of sulfuric acid.
More solution will be withdrawn than is injected, which prevents off-site migration.
The in-situ copper recovery technique, which was successfully demonstrated at the site nearly two decades ago, means low energy consumption, low water consumption, and a low carbon footprint.
Florence Copper always has and always will operate in accordance to county, state, and federal laws and regulations.
Persons may submit comments on the proposed amendments to the permit, in writing, to Richard Mendolia, Project Manager, ADEQ, Water Permits Section, 1110 West Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007, or electronically to FlorenceCopper@azdeq.gov, by May 19, 2016.
A public hearing will be held at the Florence High School gymnasium on May 19, 2016, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The purpose of the public hearing is to allow the public to make comments for the record. ADEQ will respond in writing to all comments submitted during the formal public comment period.
It’s very unfortunate that the community continues to receive unsolicited propaganda in the Johnson Utilities newsletter month after month. However, we have full trust that the community sees past deceptive tactics like these. We invite you to get the facts about the project by calling our staff or the regulatory agencies that oversee the project. We will always answer your questions in an open and transparent manner.
The Florence Copper Local Team
Dan Johnson, Vice President & General Manager
Stacy Gramazio, Manager of Communications & Public Affairs