Drilling

The proposed project area is seen here at bottom right, outlined in red.

A company is seeking to perform exploratory drilling for mineral deposits on the east side of the Patagonia Mountains, and members of the public can comment on the proposal as part of the review process mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act.

According to a letter from the Coronado National Forest, a company called IC Explorations, for which little information exists online, is proposing what it calls the San Antonio Exploration Drilling Project. It would consist of five drill sites at which the company would use a single drill rig for 30 days of drilling, followed by 20 days to finalize the reclamation of the sites.

“Operating hours would be during daytime hours between sunrise and sunset,” the CNF letter said, adding that neither lighting nor permanent structures would be part of the project.

When it’s finished, all drill holes “would be abandoned per state regulations and temporary structures would be removed.” Access roads would be left in their existing condition.

The proposed drill sites are in an area east of the community of Duquesne and Duquesne Road, at the north end of an area labeled on maps as Finley and Adams Canyon, approximately five miles northwest of Lochiel.

The U.S. Forest Service did not send the CNF letter or any other information about the project to the Nogales International, and it published a mandatory public notice about the project in a paper in Cochise County, rather than Santa Cruz County. The project was brought to the NI’s attention by a county resident who received the letter.

The public notice was published in the Sierra Vista Herald on Friday, Sept. 18. Members of the pubic now have 30 days from that date to submit comments as part of the environmental review process.

More information about the project, as well as a link to submit a comment electronically, are available here.

Comments can also be submitted via physical mail to Sierra Vista Ranger District, District Ranger c/o Rick Goshen, 4070 S. Avenida Saracino, Hereford AZ 85615.

For more information, contact Goshen at richard.goshen@usda.gov or (520) 388-8341.

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