NDAA provision would allow mining on Apache land

Lawmakers have slipped a provision into the new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would allow a massive copper mine on public lands that are sacred to the Apache. Previous efforts failed to pass HR 687, or the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act, which would allow a subsidiary of international mining conglomerate Rio Tinto to acquire 2,400 acres of the Tonto National Forest in southeast Arizona in exchange for 5,000 acres in parcels scattered around the state. The massive underground copper mining project is fiercely opposed by environmental groups as well as the San Carlos Apache Tribe, which holds the area, near the town of Superior, as a sacred site. Now the land swap has been incorporated into the 1,600-page NDAA. A petition against the provision has been posted to the White House website. (ICTMN, Arizona Republic, Dec. 3)

See our last post on the struggle for public lands.

  1. NDAA land-grab passes Senate

    The NDAA has now passed the Senate as well as the House and awaits Obama's sgnature—including the provision that gives Rio Tinto subsidiary Resolution Copper 2,400 acres of the Tonto National Forest in exchange for several other parcels so it can mine a massive copper deposit. Controversy has emerged over Rio Tinto's business dealings with Iran. The Iran connection comes from the company's Rossing uranium mine in Namibia, in which Tehran has owned a 15% stake since the days of the Shah. Rio Tinto says it has discussed the Rossing matter with the State Department, and that no sanctions are being violated. Leaders of the San Carlos Apache Tribe asked the Senate not to vote on the NDAA until the provision was removed. (HuffPo, Dec. 12; ICTMN, Dec. 8; HuffPo, Dec. 2)