Editor:

I am writing in support of Florence Copper and with that I am also advocating for a change in town mayoral leadership. I am a geological engineer and have been involved in the mining industry since 1963. In 1976, I was the lead investigator on the site characterization study for CONOCO as they were planning a large open pit mine. Managing the overlying aquifer proved insurmountable for that project. Others picked the property up and began to investigate the potential for an in-situ leach operation. So, I fully understand the geology and hydrogeology of the property.

I understand the permitting process: it is intense.

I understand the regulations: they are robust.

I understand the in-situ leaching process: it is proven and well controlled.

And, I also know the regulators: they are assiduous and dedicated (as well as responsible) for ensuring compliance.

A resource has no value unless it is exploited. The target zone at Florence Copper is beneath and largely isolated from the overlying aquifer. The technology for sealing a well is thoroughly proven. In short, extraction of the copper resource can be safely conducted and the ADEQ (and others) will be keeping a watchful eye. The town will benefit from employment, taxes, business opportunities and partnership with Florence Copper.

Th highest and best use of that property today is for the project to go forward. Moreover, upon completion in 20 years or so, the land surface can be easily reclaimed for other purposes. Wasting additional millions fighting this demonstrated project is nonsensical.

A new administration in Florence is needed. The current administration continues the litigation against Florence Copper and that would include our current town mayor. A recent public hearing for Florence Copper was held, and the current mayor did not appear during this meeting to explain her rationale regarding the ongoing litigation. Change is needed and that change currently will come in the form of a new mayor for Florence. Kyle Larsen has vowed to stop the litigation and work with Florence Copper. Therefore, I support Kyle Larsen in his run in this Florence 2020 mayoral race.

This is necessary to stop the bleeding of our tax dollars and build a better relationship between the town and Florence Copper.

Ken Rippere

Florence

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