SUPERIOR — Resolution Copper will be removing the historic Magma Smelter Complex in Superior as part of a reclamation project.
A public forum to discuss the project will be hosted by Resolution Copper at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Superior Junior-Senior High School.
The smelter complex was built in the 1920s by Magma Copper, which began mining the area in the early 1900s and operated for most of the 20th century. Resolution Copper has rehabilitated more than 130 acres as part of the already $40 million project.
The mining company said in a letter to residents that the remains of Magma’s operation are better off from a safety, health and environmental perspective today than when the company found it.
The plans to take down the Magma Smelter Complex were announced in 2015. Resolution Copper said that it is completing an archaeological and historical documentation of the site and is calling for residents to share ideas on how to “honor and commemorate the past even as we plan for the future” at the public forum.
Resolution Copper argues that the smelter complex must come down because the stacks are structurally unstable and are at risk of toppling onto employees working in the area of the reclamation project. The cleanup includes the removal of contaminants such as asbestos, arsenic, lead and copper from the surrounding area and soil.
The demolition of the smelter buildings is set to begin in June of 2018 and will finish in September 2018 with the demolition of the chimney stack. The reseeding and rehabilitation of the smelter site is scheduled to be completed by April 2019.
According to Resolution Copper, the demolitions will not pose a risk to residents and noise level will be mitigated to meet federal OSHA standards.
Nevertheless, residents may feel a slight shudder of the earth when the stack falls.
“The Resolution Copper team is proud of our work to clean up the Magma Mine site to make it safer,” the company said in the letter to residents. “We also understand the historical value of the Smelter complex to Superior residents. We know the chimney stack, in particular, is an important landmark which has come to symbolize the town’s mining history.”