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Public meetings this week on Oracle Ridge mine air quality

 

Public meetings are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday on the reopening of an underground copper mine on the north side of the Catalina Mountains. An open house and public hearing on an air quality permit for the mine will be held in Catalina.

Oracle Ridge Mining, LLC is seeking a permit to reopen an existing underground copper mine about seven miles north of Summerhaven.

The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality will hold an open house on Wednesday, and a public hearing on Thursday on the air quality permit.

The meetings will be held at the Coronado K-8 School gymnasium at 3401 E. Wilds Rd. in Catalina.

From PDEQ spokeswoman Beth Gorman:

The draft air quality permit requires Oracle Ridge Mining to control emissions of particulate matter from above ground material processing, unpaved roads and tailings storage operations as per federal and Pima County standards. Particulate matter, tiny particles suspended in the air we breathe, is one of the most significant air pollutants in Pima County and has serious impacts on human health and the environment. Oracle Ridge Mining is also required to submit a Tailings and Dust Management Plan for approval by PDEQ.

At the open house, Wednesday from 5-7 p.m., PDEQ staff will be available to answer questions about the proposed permit and enforcement.

At the public hearing, Thursday from 5:30-6:30 p.m., the public will have the chance to speak on the permit or drop off written comments.

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The official comment period on the permit began May 16 and runs through June 29, Gorman said.

The permit application and relevant background material may be reviewed at www.deq.pima.gov.

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