The Apache Stronghold’s struggle to save its sacred lands at Oak Flat in the Tonto National Forest has won a new ally – one that would have everything to lose if the proposed copper mine is the jobs bonanza promoters promise.
Karla Schumann, Teamsters Local Union 104 Secretary Treasurer, recently wrote on behalf of the 8,400 Teamsters Local Union 104 members, endorsing Rep. Raul Grijalva’s Save Oak Flat Act, H.R. 1884.
Since time immemorial, Native Americans have gone to Oak Flat to participate in ceremonies, to pray, to gather medicines and ceremonial items. and to seek and obtain peace and personal cleansing … Rio Tinto, BHP and Resolution Copper seek to extract the copper ore beneath Oak Flat using the block-cave or panel-cave mining method. This will cause the surface of Oak Flat to collapse and result in a 1.8-mile-wide crater, which is the approximate distance from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, that will be over a thousand feet deep. The process will permanently destroy more than one dozen sacred springs, burial sites and related cultural properties.
What about the promised jobs the project would bring? Surely the Teamsters are alert to new prospects with good-paying jobs?
Proponents of the mine claim job creation as the primary reason to move forward with the project … this mine will be fully automated and will not create good jobs for Arizonians. Resolution Copper will utilize robotized drilling and automated haul trucks that can all be controlled from an operations center outside of Arizona.
Bottom line: A union that represents working men and women says there is not much of an upside from an employment perspective in the copper mine – and a huge downside for the government’s respect for religious liberty.