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'It would be a disaster'; Nuns living near proposed Rosemont Mine speak out

The site of the proposed Rosemont Mine sits just five miles from the Santa Rita Abbey.

'It would be a disaster'; Nuns living near proposed Rosemont Mine speak out

By Maggie Vespa. CREATED Aug 9, 2013

SANTA CRUZ CO. (KGUN9-TV) - It is a project years in the making and one that never fails to get blood boiling.

We're talking about the Rosemont Mine.
 
The proposal covers 4,600 acres of private and public land southeast of Tucson.     
 
Now, one group who has stayed almost silent through that process is speaking out, in a rare interview with 9OYS.
 
The sisters of Santa Rita Abbey say, they've tried everything else.
 
They believe their concerns have been ignored, and they are running out of time.
 
They have lived on the land, walked through the halls, and worshiped in the chapel for 41 years.
 
"One of the vows we make is called 'stability', where we promise to live in a certain place until we die," said Sister Victoria Murray, prioress of the Abbey.  "Its purpose is to sink your roots down there, and it's in sinking in your roots, that you sink your roots into God."
 
Now, Sister Victoria says the home they love so, sits just five miles from what could be its demise.
 
"The Rosemont Mine would be a disaster," she told 9OYS.
 
Their main concerns center on dust from construction and from years of work to follow.
 
And there's another.
 
"It's a mine that they say would be in operation 24/7 for at least 20 years.  It's hard to think that there would be any water left.  We would have to leave," she said.
 
They are issues that have lingered in the legal spotlight for years, thanks largely to environmental groups, but inspections by, and permits issued from, the state and other agencies have held up time and time again.
 
That's not good enough for the Sisters, who worry what their land and their way of life will look like decades from now, when Rosemont Copper moves on.
 
"You've got a lot of plants.  You've got a lot of animals.  You've also got a lot of beauty," said Sister Victoria.  "The human spirit needs beauty."
 
9OYS reached out to Rosemont Copper.
 
Due to time restraints, we were not able to meet with them.
 
They stand by their studies and point out, they are still waiting on approval from the U.S. Forest Service and the Army Core of Engineers.
 
They hope to break ground by the end of this year.