MINES AND MEN

DIGGING AT GRANITE MOUNTAIN AND COPPER BASIN WOULD SCAR THE FACE OF PRESCOTT. PLANS HAVE BEEN STOPPED, BUT ONLY FOR A WHILE.

He knew, also, that this land had been mined for centuries. He showed me the remains of the copper smelter that processed the copper ore from the nineteen or so mines that dotted the basin before World War II. He pointed out slag heaps from the turn of the century, the skeleton of a 65-year-old car, tin cans from ancient mining camps, antique sluice boxes made of rough pine. He found relics from other cultures as well: a shard of Indian pottery, a white leather British Knight basketball shoe.

From the banks of the wash, Thompson dug out light-green chunks of malachite, a rich copper ore. He could spot tiny beads of ice-blue azurite, another copper ore, in the decomposed granite surrounding an old mining camp.

Thompson sees both sides of the Copper Basin question. He told me that some of the people who opposed the mine were "some of the finest people I've ever met." In practically the next breath, he said, "I think there are a lot of laypeople who would welcome the mine. They are plumbers and real estate people. They want the mine for higher-paying jobs." Before we headed back into Prescott, Ray Thompson picked up a Pepsi can someone had thrown near the ruins of an old mining camp. He shook his head in disgust and threw it in the back seat of his green forest service car.

She worries that both mines would ruin the air, water and countryside near Prescott, perhaps forever. Everybody knows Copper Basin will be mined because copper mining is once again profitable. "One gets curious where these people think they get the copper wire for their TV sets." Some of the land around Granite Mountain can be bought by miners for less than a pack of Marlboros.

"Once in a while, when it rained a lot, cyanide from a mine might wash into our creeks, and maybe a cow or two might drink the water and die."

"The remoteness of this area is important. I'd rather keep it unused and value it for that reason than have a gold mine here."

"We're selling our souls for a couple of jobs." "I look at the land as a scientist, as compared to those who look at it with a Walt Disney approach."

"The greatest contribution some of these people could give the environment is to go take a shower."~

The mining company "does not have a moral, personal relationship with Granite Mountain.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Loading...