Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Tyrone Mine

Day before yesterday, we went into Silver City with Dad, who went to a Rotary Club meeting while we wandered around the very walkable Bullard art gallery/coffeeshop district. Great little area. We're going back there today.

After Dad's meeting, we drove for a few miles to take a look at the Tyrone Mine, an enormous open-pit porphyry copper mine. The mountain that used to be there is now a thousand-foot hole in the ground; giant trucks and machinery are still moving dirt and ore around. The mine is owned by Phelps Dodge (in turned owned by Freeport-McMoRan). The lookout afforded us a great view of the pit (Hans took a few photos). There were signs there talking about the reclamation of the pit, but they referred to "seeding", as though that was all they planned to do. (I'm not sure what the local requirements are for satisfactory revegetation.) Apparently, there's been a bit of controversy about it (am I surprised?). The big concern is protection of the aquifer from contamination by acid leachates from the mine. As I said below, water is a very big deal in the Southwest.

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