The New Mexico Mining Association has launched a new website, NMCopperRules.com, that outlines its support of proposed copper mining rules from the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED).
The New Mexico Environment Department is scheduled to begin the public hearing on April 9.
“NMCopperRules.com is committed to providing New Mexico residents accurate, timely and consistent information about the NMED’s proposed copper mining rules,” said Mike Bowen, executive director of the NMMA. “The proposed rules are a dramatic improvement to the state’s current inconsistent, ad hoc process and will promote a safe, clean and productive environment in New Mexico. The proposed copper mining rules will provide a better managed environment and a better economy.”
The website also outlines the history and economic impact of copper mining in the state.
“After a century of copper mining in New Mexico, the state will finally have regulations that define how ground water should be regulated and protected at copper mine operations,” said Bowen,. “Mining operators will now have clear expectations for the way ground water is to be managed by copper mining operations in New Mexico today and after mining operations cease.”
The development of new copper regulations are required under legislation passed in 2009 by the New Mexico Legislature and signed by Gov. Bill Richardson, who recognized consistent standards were needed to protect water quality at copper mine sites, as well as to maintain and attract additional mining investment and jobs to New Mexico.
The rules recommended by NMED were developed during months of meetings that included a very diverse group of interests, including state officials, academics, resource management experts, environmental groups and industry representatives.
According to Bowen, “I salute Governor Martinez and the New Mexico legislators who have insisted on strict environmental requirements for copper miners in the state that are also clear, consistent and scientifically-based. The NMED’s Proposed Copper Rules are a dramatic improvement over the state’s current inconsistent, ad hoc process.
“New Mexico’s copper mining industry generates $326 million of economic impact and supports 4,328 New Mexico jobs each year. Clear, consistent rules will better protect New Mexico’s ground water, as well as allow mining companies to better plan and invest in future operations — a critical step for increasing economic expansion and job creation in New Mexico.”