Minerals are the linchpin of economic growth and social progress, not just domestically but around the world. Considering that over one billion people worldwide lack access to electricity, expanding all forms of mineral production, especially copper, will be essential to advancing social and economic progress. Meeting the demand for critical minerals, safely and with due respect for our environment, should be our goal. It is equally important for mining companies to explain to the public how they operate and why what they do is important to this generation and to future generations who will depend on the minerals they provide.

Florence Copper is operating its Production Test Facility and has been doing so since April 2019. The PTF has operated safely with no adverse impacts on the town of Florence or its residents. The PTF is a small-scale test facility. This pilot test is being monitored closely by federal and state environmental agencies to ensure that copper recovery is being conducted in a safe and responsible manner. During this test phase, Florence Copper must also demonstrate best water management practices to maximize the efficient use of water while at the same time, employing new water treatment technologies.

Florence Copper is a prime example of how innovation and technology can pave the way for safe and responsible minerals development within Arizona. But why is this important? And how is a project like Florence Copper relevant to the people of Florence?

Over the next four decades, the world’s energy system will see profound developments. The key driver in this change is the projected growth in global population and prosperity as emerging nations enter their most energy-intensive phase of economic development. Millions are escaping from poverty. And in so doing, demanding their share of energy and mineral resources. Underlying global demand for minerals by 2050 could triple from its year 2000 level if emerging economies follow historical patterns of development.

Copper is an essential element in such things as solar power, wind generation and hydro-electric. In particular, copper is a critical mineral in consumer products like cell phones, electric vehicles, air conditioners and home electrical wiring. Simply put, without copper, we wouldn’t have a modern society. It is in our control to ensure that the local development of mineral resources does not adversely impact the environment or society.

Rather than pursue a policy of taxpayer-funded lawsuit, after lawsuit, after lawsuit against Florence Copper, wouldn’t it be better for the Town Council to work together, with regulators and stakeholders, to ensure that Florence Copper is the most environmentally superior operation in the state? Why not create a joint Community Advisory Panel, comprised of members of the Town Council and concerned stakeholders to work with and advise Florence Copper on such things as best environmental practices, job creation, philanthropy and support for our local schools?

Now is the time for the Florence Town Council to focus on jobs and the economy. Now is the time for the Florence Town Council to help businesses of all sizes grow and prosper. Now is the time for the Florence Town Council to redirect its efforts towards a revitalized downtown. Now is the time for a change.

Bill Tanner


Town Council candidate