US President Donald Trump is planning to transfer 2,422 acres of forest land to Rio Tinto and BHP for a copper mining project in Arizona. Trump is expected to approve the land swap a few days before President-elect Joe Biden assumes office.
Rio Tinto and its partner BHP’s Resolution Copper Mining project is located in Tonto National Forest. The federal agencies were allegedly pressured to speed-up the approval before Trump leaves office, according to local media. The final environmental impact report is scheduled to be published on Jan 15, five days before Trump’s exit.
Opponents of the plan claim the project will damage sites of Native American tribes’ cultural heritage and have been lobbying Biden to block a mining permit. Earlier, Rio Tinto faced backlashes for blowing up the 46,000-year-old aboriginal caves at Juukan Gorge in Western Australia. The company’s senior executives were sacked following the debacle.
Resolution Copper mine is estimated to produce 40bn mt copper over a period of 40 years.