South32 president: 'Setting the document straight on mining co's plans in Rio Rico'

Pat Risner is president of the South32 Hermosa Challenge, based mostly close to Patagonia, Ariz.

South32 is dedicated to the well-being of Southern Arizona residents and understanding group considerations all through the event of the Hermosa Challenge, a crucial minerals venture in a historic mining district within the Patagonia Mountains. As a result of belief and transparency are central to our method, I need to tackle some public misconceptions round a neighborhood land developer’s 3,550-acre Rio Rico rezoning proposal at the moment earlier than Santa Cruz County. I additionally shared this info on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors’ assembly on July 18.

At the start, South32 is not going to be mining in Rio Rico. We don’t personal mineral claims within the Rio Rico space and likewise is not going to be conducting mineral exploration there.

Second, we’re not concerned within the rezoning proposal and haven’t any contractual relationship with the landowner proposing it.

As a part of our dedication to maximise Hermosa venture advantages to Santa Cruz County, South32 does have an curiosity in finding two of our future offsite amenities at undetermined areas inside the county. Each amenities stay in research and planning phases, and South32 isn’t looking for county approval for something at the moment, however I’d prefer to share extra about them:

Built-in Distant Working Heart

This facility can be a industrial facility no bigger than 5 acres to accommodate staff and know-how required for his or her work. Image numerous giant screens, screens, and particular workstations permitting distant working of among the underground tools at our distant venture website.

An IROC can improve security and productiveness, scale back commuter site visitors, and allow a extra numerous workforce. It may possibly additionally assist us ship on our goal of hiring 80 % of our staff from Santa Cruz County. Native hiring displays our view that the group mustn’t solely profit from mineral improvement right here but additionally be spared strains to their tax-supported native providers that an inflow of recent employees might create.

From consulting with native leaders, we see a shared choice to place this facility alongside the I-19 hall close to the inhabitants heart, for native employment and financial improvement. Nevertheless, group sentiment is a key issue, and extra areas exterior of Rio Rico and Santa Cruz County could be evaluated. Moreover, ought to South32 proceed to deal with siting this facility in Rio Rico, any development plans can be developed with group session and aligned with County-led planning objectives.

Battery-grade manganese facility

Individually, we’re evaluating a number of potential areas for a facility the place we are able to sustainably convert the pure manganese ore discovered at Hermosa right into a extremely purified, small-batch product used for making electrical car batteries. The one a part of the world the place this conversion course of at the moment happens is China. Nonetheless in early phases of research, Hermosa’s state-of-the-art facility is envisioned as requiring fewer than 250 acres.

We would like to find this facility inside the county to create native jobs and improve native provider alternatives. Whereas we’re not as far alongside on this website choice course of, it is very important observe that it’ll characteristic modern know-how designed to make sure all supplies are dealt with safely and securely—together with sealed-container transport and enclosed storage—with strict operational controls and regulatory oversight.

Any new development for Hermosa off-site amenities would wish to happen on undeveloped land. Inside the Intestate 19 hall in Santa Cruz County, that naturally means evaluating areas inside the Rio Rico rezoning proposal. However to be clear, these will not be the one areas the place we’re conducting baseline evaluations, and South32 has no dependency on finding something there for Hermosa to progress. And once more, we’re not concerned within the proposal and haven’t begun or progressed any land acquisitions for any websites being evaluated.

Primarily based on curiosity and questions heard at latest public displays, we will likely be internet hosting a public open home in Rio Rico at the highschool gymnasium on August 17 from 5-7 p.m. We do hearken to our stakeholders to know what’s necessary to them and can proceed to work collectively to create shared worth. Many Hermosa staff dwell and work right here too, and we all know our households, associates, and neighbors are relying on us to do issues proper.