University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) Director Dr. Raina Maier and investigator Dr. Mark Barton spoke to the Arizona Mining Stakeholders Group on January 19, 2016 at the State Capital Executive Tower in Phoenix. They were invited by the Arizona Mining Association and the Arizona Rock Products Association, stakeholder groups they have been working with through the activities of the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Mining. The audience for their talk was the State Legislature Mining Caucus, a bipartisan group with members from both the Arizona Senate and the House of Representatives.
The Arizona Mining Stakeholders Group seeks to create sound legislative policy to support and expand mining employment and the state and local economies. The mining industry has a $10 billion (direct and indirect) economic impact on Arizona business and employs approximately 18,000 people.
The title of Maier and Barton’s talk was “Sustainable Arizona mining: Seizing the opportunities, meeting the challenges.” The talk began with a discussion of the economic benefits of mining to Arizona, then highlighted challenges the industry faces, including issues of water and energy use, improving our understanding of the Arizona (and global) mineral resource inventory, improving environmental stewardship, keeping the workforce healthy, educating the next generation of the mining workforce, and engaging communities. It concluded with a call to action for the State, the mining industry and the University of Arizona to work more closely together to meet these challenges.