San Carlos Apache Would Get Biggest Shaft Ever in Copper Mine Land Swap

Rio Tinto's Resolution Copper project has announced it's mine is the biggest shaft ever. This isn't news to the San Carlos Apache.

On November 19, Resolution Copper proudly announced it had completed shaft #10, which at a final depth of 6,943 feet is the deepest single-lift shaft mine in North America. Resolution Copper is majority-owned by Rio Tinto, with the Australian company BHP Billiton holding a minority stake.

The shaft has been drilled in anticipation of copper mining that would take place under the Tonto National Park, which is Federally protected land—for now, at least. The latest National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which has already passed in the House of Representatives, contains an act added by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Az.) that would allow for a land swap: Resolution Copper would get the 2,400 acres of land it wants for mining in exchange for a number of parcels of land it already owns in southeast Arizona, a total area of 5,300 acres.

RELATED:San Carlos Apache Leader Seeks Senate Defeat of Copper Mine on Sacred Land

The swap, which is not a done deal as the Senate has not yet approved the NDAA, is opposed by the San Carlos Apache, as well as numerous environmental groups. The land includes Oak Flats, Apache Leap, and Devil's Canyon, and is a sacred site to the Tribe. 

Some clever internet person felt the picture of the Resolution Copper crew celebrating their record-setting shaft needed a little more interpretation, resulting in the image you see above. An instant classic.