Commonwealth Mine Meeting in Pearce-Sunsites, Arizona on July 22, 2014, with Commonwealth Silver and Gold Mining, Inc. of Canada. Featuring: Commonwealth Silver CEO Michael Farrant and Commonwealth Silver’s Public Relations Spokesperson Hall Stewart. All information provided below is substantiated via links to the video of the meeting at the end of this post.
When watching the video, pay close attention to the end of the meeting where our community starts asking Hall Stewart hard questions.
- When Stewart is asked about cyanide leach pads leaking his response is, “generally not” and further states that he does “not have an answer to this question, other than generally not“.
- When asked about funding for a contingency plan in case of a hazardous chemical spill, Stewart states that they “do not have any money set aside for this because the company is broke“.
- When Stewart is asked about health concerns for our community related to hazardous dust particulates from blasting “10,000 tons of earth every day“, he blatantly bypasses the subject.
- The meeting ends when a man in the audience asks if Stewart would want this mine next to his house, and Stewart replies, “I did not buy my house next to a mine“, which is followed by the audience groaning…
Additional meeting observations:
This is the first meeting Commonwealth Silver has had with our community in over two years and the only reason for this meeting as per Stewart was because, “he decided to make the presentation to dispel inaccurate information making the rounds locally, as well as false statements made by a website, commonwealthmine.org“. In other words, without commonwealthmine.org there would not have been a meeting with our community, which you can verify at: http://www.willcoxrangenews.com/news/article_a8ce68a8-1ced-11e4-9011-0019bb2963f4.html
Stewart claims that Commonwealth Silver is heavily regulated by the “Canadian Securities Market“, however, Canada has proven time and time again that these regulations provide no protection to communities affected by Canadian mining companies working inside or outside of Canada as the recent Mount Polley mine disaster has proven once again. Learn more about the Mount Polley mine disaster, which has been called one of the biggest environmental disasters in modern Canadian history at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Polley_mine_disaster
Stewart points out that Thomas Rinaldi will be joining Commonwealth Silver after their supposed merger with Delta Gold Corp and will act as the Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Rinaldi will live in Tucson and commute to the Commonwealth Mine four to five days a week. Mr. Rinaldi currently works in Zambia as the General Manager Technical and Projects for Konkola Copper Mines Plc., an integrated copper producer and subsidiary of FTSE-listed Vedanta Resources Plc. Konkola Copper Mines has a long history of corruption and environmental damage. Learn more at: http://www.mineweb.com/mineweb/content/en/mineweb-iron-and-steel?oid=13341&sn=Daily+news+detail
Stewart states that Marco Romero (who lives in Vancouver, Canada) will join Commonwealth Silver as their Vice President of Corporate Development after their merger with Delta Gold Corporation. Learn more about Marco Romero at: http://www.deltagold.com/management-team. Note that Mr. Romero is the founder of Polaris Minerals Corporation which has a dismal track record of human and environmental abuse. Learn more at: http://www.firstnations.de/indian_land.htm (Polaris Minerals is discussed near the end of the article). Mr. Romero was also the co-founder and Executive Director of Eldorado Gold Corporation who has also been found to have significant negative impacts on the environments and communities where they mine. Learn more at: http://www.change.org/p/the-government-of-canada-stop-support-for-eldorado-gold-corporation-in-northern-greece
Hall Stewart proudly states that he spent the summer of 1982 in a “six-week field camp” in Cochise County, which apparently leads him to believe he is an expert on environmental issues that would affect our local community.
Note that Stewart is thrilled that our community has already provided Commonwealth Silver with significant infrastructure resources including, WATER, roads and electrical power, which significantly reduces their total investment costs. Our loss, his gain.
Stewart claims that, “in general the community supports us“, however, this didn’t appear to be the case at the meeting since about eighty-percent of those in attendance stayed after the meeting to voice concerns.
Stewart claims that Commonwealth Silver has completed two Mineral Resource Estimates which are compliant with “Canadian securities laws“. As Americans, what do we care about Canadian securities laws? And how do these Canadian laws protect us as American citizens? This is the United States of America, NOT Canada.
Stewart says that Commonwealth Silver still needs to determine whether or not the Commonwealth Mine Project, “can be mined profitably and mined with an acceptable level of impact“, which means profitable for Commonwealth Silver and acceptable environmental impact for the residents of our community. Who is Commonwealth Silver to determine what environmental impact we will accept? What other community rights do we want to surrender?
Stewart discusses that Commonwealth Silver has done a lot of recent drilling, notably 37 holes. Aren’t U.S. permits required for such actions? And where is the proof of them obtaining the legal rights to drill these holes? Private property or not, there are still federal and state laws that must be followed. All we hear are the requirements that they have met under Canadian securities law.
Stewart states that it will take “60 tons of dirt to produce one ounce of gold“.
Stewart makes it crystal clear that taxes paid by Commonwealth Silver will be good for the State of Arizona and the federal government, but WHAT IS THE BENEFIT TO OUR COMMUNITY?
Stewart says that the mining rate for this project will be 10,000 tons a day of ore with a strip ratio of one-to-one. He further states that they will also move 10,000 tons of MINE WASTE every day, which will total moving 20,000 tons a day for nine years. Where is this MINE WASTE going to be dumped and what will all of this earth moving do to our air quality?
Stewart states that their largest individual investor is Coeur Mining, who invested two-million dollars in August 2012. As recently as August 12, 2014, Joe Phillips, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Coeur Mining stated that their President and CEO, Mitch Krebs is now deferring investments in other mining projects due to declining metal prices. This would also most likely be the case for Commonwealth Silver. Further research into Coeur Mining shows that they have numerous financial issues, including reporting a $31.6 million loss for second quarter of this year, which can be verified at http://elkodaily.com/mining/coeur-mining-reports-million-loss-for-second-quarter/article_5fe4dd52-1f4f-11e4-8df7-001a4bcf887a.html
Is having Coeur Mining as an investor in Commonwealth Silver supposed to make our community feel more secure?
Stewart claims that Commonwealth Silver will create 145 jobs for nine years, most of which no one in our community would be qualified for. Even if people in our community went to school to qualify for these positions, they would already be filled by the time their training was completed. Of the 145 positions that would supposedly be created 60 of them (Process Plant and Pad and General and Admin) would pay $15 or less an hour as shown on his “Personal Requirements” chart used in the meeting.
Stewart states that it’s a fact that our ground water levels are decreasing, which is a known issue in our community. How can we support the extensive water needs of a silver and gold mining operation with our rapidly dwindling water supply? Doesn’t our state and county know that we are in a major drought, with no signs of things getting better?
Stewart proudly tells us the audience, “we will keep all of the mining on the patented mining claims that the United States of America determined was to be set aside for mining before Arizona was a state and we will keep all of our processes on private lands“. First of all, land set aside for mining before Arizona was a state is ancient history and is not reflective of what is relevant, or in our best interests today. Second, it doesn’t make a difference if all of their processes are on private land (such as their cyanide leach pads) if their processes negatively impact our water supply and environment.
Nowhere in this meeting does Stewart address concerns about monsoons, flooding, earth fissures, and our dwindling water supply. Although, he does acknowledge that the possibility of their open pit mine becoming a CYANIDE LAKE “is a concern“, since its base will be approximately 40 feet above our water table…
Final observation, Michael Farrant sat through the majority of this meeting with his arms crossed over his chest, which social science proves to be negative, defensive, or nervous body language. Interesting that as the CEO of Commonwealth Silver, Michael Farrant appeared that he wasn’t very interested in being there, and he clearly demonstrated a lack of interest in us as people and the welfare of our community.
Watch the meeting via the appropriate link below and judge for yourself.