Construction of the Florence Copper project is now underway, and the new in-situ copper recovery facility is on track to produce its first copper cathode before the end of this year.
It took eight years of effort to secure the state and federal permits necessary to proceed, but people can now see the physical evidence of our progress and are energized by the opportunities being created.
Despite the influx of economic activity in Florence from the construction of the Florence Copper facility, the Florence Town Council members remain determined to stop the project, regardless of the consequences.
Instead of welcoming the economic investment and the 80 new jobs on site, the Council instead continues to spend hundreds of thousands of tax dollars on lawyers, challenging state and federal permit decisions that found the Project was not a threat to local water supplies, and attempting to take away Florence Copper's historic rights to mine originally granted by the Council.
Instead of celebrating the infusion of $4.5 million in new annual revenues that Florence Copper will generate for the town, the Council instead is increasing their taxpayer-funded legal spending to $500,000 next year - specifically to fight Florence Copper!
Florence citizens should know what their Council is doing and the risks they are taking.
Even though the Town has lost the administrative challenges of the permits issued by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and the EPA, their legal strategy continues to be "stop the mine at any cost" even if it is damaging to the town and its residents and leads to extraordinary financial hardship for both.
Remember, this is after already wasting close to $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars without achieving a single legal outcome in their favor. That's a lot of money, and an exceedingly large and unfair burden to put on the backs of Florence residents, who have little or no say in the matter.
While Main Street continues to suffer and more and more shops close, Council members continue fighting the state and federal regulatory agencies in what is now a contemptuous bid to stop a sound, fully approved, permitted facility.
The Town Council should be an advocate for opportunity and ambassadors for new investment in our community.
As always, your support over the years is the reason why we are celebrating new jobs and economic uplift in Florence today.
Working together, we can all encourage positive change that will bring even more benefits to Florence.