Mine

Seen in this file photo from 2016, Arizona Mining drills ore from as deep as 4,000 feet under the surface, where there is a large deposit of zinc, lead and silver.

A new study says Arizona Mining’s Hermosa Project in the Patagonia Mountains will employ an average of 451 workers, with a peak employment of 525 people, providing an annual average of $151.1 million in disposable income to residents of Santa Cruz, Pima and Cochise County.

The zinc, lead and silver-mining project is also expected to generate an average of $10.4 million per year in incremental revenues for local governments Santa Cruz, Pima and Cochise counties, while adding more than $12 billion to the counties’ collective gross domestic product (GDP) through 2049. During the same period, the state’s GDP is anticipated to see a $21.6-billion boost, according to the Arizona Mining-funded study conducted by researchers at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

“Our analysis shows the Hermosa Project will have a significant economic impact on Arizona and the three-county area, extending through 2049,” Lee McPheters, an ASU professor and researcher, said in a news release by Arizona Mining.

Construction is ongoing and if all permits are granted, production at the underground mine is set to begin in late 2020, according to Greg Lucero, the company’s director of government and community relations.

In addition to its direct employment, the Hermosa Project will also support an annual average of 3,225 other jobs throughout Arizona, mostly in the private and non-agricultural sectors, the study says. It will support an average of 2,205 jobs in the Santa Cruz, Pima and Cochise tri-county area.

“The vast majority of these jobs will demand an increasingly skilled, educated workforce, with ample opportunities for today’s students to learn, work and live right here in Arizona,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in the news release.

Arizona Mining provided the NI with an executive summary of the study and not the full document. It was unclear if the full study analyzed any negative economic impacts the mine might have, such as harming the eco-tourism industry in the Patagonia area.

Patagonia Area Resource Alliance, a local mining watchdog, said in a news release that it plans to review the study.

“Jobs and economic benefits are important to all of us. However, water matters more so we must also consider the negative impact on this region’s water, air and soils that are occurring and will increase based on (Arizona Mining’s) proposed industrialized mining activity,” the news release says.

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