Save Oak Flat

Recreation, wildlife and culture at risk

The Oak Flat Campground was set aside by President Eisenhower in an effort to preserve special public lands from threats like mining and development. Since that time, thousands of visitors have enjoyed the wild, rugged canyon terrain that defines this area.

Copper mining would shut out visitors to Oak Flat and give international mining companies like Rio Tinto the power to disrupt the land by digging mine shafts, excavating minerals and carving roads through a once wild landscape. The tribes would be stripped of access to native and sacred lands to practice their religion. The area is also habitat for several important flora and fauna species. 

Mining would mar the landscape

Block cave mining is a technique that involves drilling and blasting from underneath the copper ore body, creating an underground cavern. This method causes instability within the mine and at the surface, making it collapse. At the Henderson Mine near Empire, Colorado, an entire mountainside collapsed after undergoing block cave mining. At Oak Flat, this would put sensitive ecological areas and sacred tribal lands at risk and would change the landscape forever.

Chemicals threaten soil and water

Once the copper is out of the ground, it is extracted from the rock by the use of chemicals. This process, known as leaching, can put the ground water, surface water and soil at risk of contamination. 

The chemical-laden rock left behind is placed in tailings piles that can also leak pollutants into the surrounding land and water. Mining uses enormous amounts of water which could limit water needed for communities and the environment.

Standing up for the places we love

Our report, “Grand Canyon at Risk, “outlined the many risks of uranium mining to workers, local residents and the environment and helped us protect more than 1 million acres next to Grand Canyon National Park from this threat. Oak Flat deserves to be protected too.