Water

Schematic of Rosemont pump station

How we use water will be one of the most important measures of our success


A dry wash that's used as a road and a LiDAR Scanner used to survey and map the ephemeral washes

Rosemont  intends to succeed. Our water-use plan follows the philosophy of “reduce, reuse and replace.” Rosemont’s level of water consumption will be one of the lowest per pound of copper produced in the world.

Water Quantity

  • Water  will be conserved during operations using dry-stack tailings storage, the leading-edge tailings management technology. We’ll use it on an unprecedented scale.
  • The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) has issued a water-use permit for the Rosemont Project allowing the use of up to 6,000 acre-feet of water per year. This level of water consumption per pound of copper produced is one of the lowest in the world.
  • Rosemont will meet this low water allowance primarily through the use of the dry-stack tailings disposal process. Dry-stack (filtered) tailings will use 50%–60% less water than similar operations that use conventional tailings disposal methods. Rosemont won’t have tailings ponds, eliminating the potential for a tailing dam failure.
  • Rosemont has set up a protection program for residential well owners. The program is designed to ensure wells continue to work, both in the vicinity of Rosemont’s production wells and the project site itself. The program covers pumping equipment repair or replacement and well deepening for the duration of the project.
  • To be a good neighbor – and an innovative project – Rosemont has committed to replace all of the water used in the operations. Water will be returned to the aquifer via recharge of Central Arizona Project (CAP) water. Rosemont has already purchased and stored 45,000 acre-feet of CAP water in the Tucson Active Management Area Avra Valley and Lower Santa Cruz storage facilities, enough CAP water for the first eight years of operations;

  • Rosemont will provide $28 million to fund a project to help the Community Water Company of Green Valley build an eight-mile pipeline and water-recharge facility that will bring CAP water to the area. To learn more click here;
  • Stormwater will be routed around or through the site as much as possible to reduce impacts to downstream resources.

Water Quality

  • Point of Compliance (POC) wells will be installed around the down-gradient perimeter of the project facilities to monitor groundwater quality. The Aquifer Protection Permit (APP) requires Rosemont to monitor groundwater quality and comply with a number of contingency actions should a standard or alert level be exceeded.
  • The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) issued the APP for the Project in 2012. As required by law, ADEQ determined that the Project will meet applicable aquifer water-quality standards at POC well-monitoring locations.
  • Rosemont will use Best Available Demonstrated Control Technologies (BADCT) as defined by ADEQ to minimize impact to groundwater and ensure existing water quality is maintained.
  • These technologies include double-lined process-solution ponds with leak detection and recovery systems.
  • The use of dry stack tailings technology is also an example of BADCT. This process minimizes the potential seepage out of the facility and any impact to the groundwater.
  • Waste rock will be classified according to its potential to affect the environment and will be managed accordingly. These management activities will minimize or eliminate the generation of pollutants. The presence of large quantities of limestone in the Rosemont deposit also provides a natural protection of the environment. As required by the permit, geochemical testing of waste rock will be performed throughout the life of the project.
  • ADEQ also issued a 401 Certification for the Project.This certification states that activities at the project site will not violate, or further degrade, applicable surface-water quality standards in the stormwater drainage areas (ephemeral washes) near and distant to the project. (Ephemeral washes are drainages that flow only briefly during and following a period of rainfall; they are normally dry.)
    • A Surface Water Mitigation Plan was developed as part of the 401 Certification. This plan requires Rosemont to conduct both onsite and offsite monitoring in order to evaluate potential impacts of the project on down-gradient water quality.
    • Stormwater released from the site will meet the requirements of the Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES) program administered by ADEQ.
    • The Rosemont Project was granted industrial stormwater permit coverage under Arizona’s Multi-Sector General Permit for activities located at the project site.
    • A construction general permit, also administered by ADEQ, covers planned construction activities along the utility corridor (the route for a power line and water supply pipeline).
    • In addition to permit requirements set by ADEQ,set by ADEQ, the Forest Service sets its own monitoring requirements to ensure water quality at the site is maintained. The Forest Service’s requirements include: 
      • Monitoring of additional wells (for water quality and/or water levels) beyond the wells required by ADEQ;Additional geochemical testing of waste rock, tailings and process water;
      • Waste-rock seepage monitoring using sampling devices installed inside the waste rock;
      • Monitoring (for water quality and flow) of seeps and springs around the site;
      • Monitoring of geomorphological changes (i.e., changes in sedimentation) in the Barrel and Davidson Canyons, dry washes down-gradient of the project site;
      • Monitoring of surface-water quality and groundwater levels and quality in locations down-gradient of the project site, including in Barrel and Davidson Canyons;
      • Monitoring of livestock-tank water quality; and
      • Periodic modeling of groundwater levels and pit-lake water quality based on updated monitoring and site-sampling data.
     
    Dry wash which is used as a road
    Water sampling in Flin Flon
      Water in one of the two ponds that are part of the Sonoita Creek Ranch restoration project
  • Monitoring  of additional wells (for water quality and/or water levels) beyond the wells required by ADEQ;
  •  

  • Additional  geochemical testing of waste rock, tailings and process water;
  • Waste-rock seepage monitoring using sampling devices installed inside the waste rock;
  • Monitoring (for water quality and flow) of seeps and springs around the site;
  • Monitoring of geomorphological changes (i.e., changes in sedimentation) in the Barrel and Davidson Canyons, dry washes down-gradient of the project site;
  • Monitoring  of surface-water quality and groundwater levels and quality in locations down-gradient of the project site, including in Barrel and Davidson Canyons;
  • Monitoring of livestock-tank water quality; and
  • Periodic  modeling of groundwater levels and pit-lake water quality based on updated monitoring and site-sampling data.
  • Monitoring  of additional wells (for water quality and/or water levels) beyond the wells required by ADEQ;
  •  

  • Additional  geochemical testing of waste rock, tailings and process water;
  • Waste-rock seepage monitoring using sampling devices installed inside the waste rock;
  • Monitoring (for water quality and flow) of seeps and springs around the site;
  • Monitoring of geomorphological changes (i.e., changes in sedimentation) in the Barrel and Davidson Canyons, dry washes down-gradient of the project site;
  • Monitoring  of surface-water quality and groundwater levels and quality in locations down-gradient of the project site, including in Barrel and Davidson Canyons;
  • Monitoring of livestock-tank water quality; and
  • Periodic  modeling of groundwater levels and pit-lake water quality based on updated monitoring and site-sampling data.
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