A US House of Representatives committee has voted to include language in a comprehensive budget resolution package that would block Rio Tinto Ltd. from building its resolution copper mine in Arizona.
The San Carlos Apache tribe and other Native Americans maintain that the mine will destroy the sacred land where they hold religious ceremonies. Elected officials in nearby Superior, Arizona, say the mine is vital to the region’s economy.
The House Natural Resources Committee late Thursday turned the Save Oak Flat Act into a $3.5 trillion reconciliation spending measure. The entire House could reverse the move and the legislation faces an uncertain fate in the US Senate,
If approved, the bill would reverse a 2014 decision by former President Barack Obama and Congress that set in motion a complicated process to give federally-owned Arizona land to Rio, in exchange for acreage near Rio. contains over 40 billion pounds of copper.
Former President Donald Trump gave final approval to the land swap before stepping down in January, but successor Joe Biden reversed that decision, leaving the project in limbo.
The Final Solutions budget is expected to include funding for solar, wind and other renewable energy projects that require excessive amounts of copper. Electric vehicles use twice as much copper as those with internal combustion engines. The resolution mine can meet about 25 percent of US copper demand.
Superior Mayor Mila Basich, a Democrat, said the project was increasingly mired in “bureaucratic purge.”
“This move appears to be the opposite of what the Biden administration is trying to do to address climate change,” Basich said. “I hope the whole House will not allow that language to be in the final bill.”
Rio said he would continue to consult with local communities and tribes. Rio chief executive Jacob Stosholm plans to move to Arizona later this year.
Representatives for San Carlos Apache and BHP Group Ltd., a minority investor in the project, could not immediately be reached for comment.
by Ernest Scheider
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times