The outgoing Trump administration has been working on approving large-scale energy and mining projects on federal lands. Projects include the construction of a copper mine in Arizona and sanctioning the building of a natural gas pipeline through the Jefferson National Forest in West Virginia and Virginia.
These projects show the Forest Service and the Interior Department’s objective to discover ways to grow domestic energy and mining production, in spite of intense protests from activists and environmentalists. The Forest Service controls 193 million acres of public lands while the Interior Department manages 480 million acres.
The last-minute approvals show how extensively the shift in regulatory policy had affected the balance between business and environmental concerns under Trump’s administration. Pres. Trump chose individuals who had formerly been industry executives to manage federal agencies such as the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, which gave considerable new weight to interests of a corporate nature. His team has taken steps to reverse federal regulations that had been set up to protect the country’s water and air as well as federal lands, in addition to other safety rules in various agencies in the government.
The Trump administration justified these moves by stating that it seeks to promote the domestic mining of key minerals such as lithium, uranium and copper, which would allow America to reduce their dependence on imports. However, if these projects are approved and advanced, they may affect the environment considerably unless stringent safeguards are put in place.
The Forest Service is supposed to release a final environmental assessment early next year on the Resolution Copper Mine. Two months after the assessment release, a large part of the Tonto National Forest, making up a total of 2,422 acres, will be transferred to mining firms automatically. This is despite the fact that the area, known as Oak Flat, is a venue for traditional social activities and is linked to deep-rooted historical traditions for the Western Apache Indians. This is in addition to the venue being an ancestral homeland and holy place for the tribe.
According to federal estimates, the project would supply about a billion pounds of copper annually and generate 3,700 employment opportunities. However, the project also has the potential to destroy most if not all of Oak Flat because the mine could slowly cave in on itself, creating a crater that would be approximately 1,100 feet deep and about two miles wide.
It remains to be seen how the undisputed need for locally sourced mineral resources can be balanced with the needs of the communities that call the targeted mining areas home.
Mining operations are moving forward abroad as well. For example, GoldHaven Resources Corp. (CSE: GOH) (OTCQB: GHVNF) recently announced that it was conducting negotiations to acquire seven Chilean properties that are rich in gold deposits.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to GoldHaven Resources Corp. (CSE: GOH) (OTCQB: GHVNF) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/GHVNF
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