Rosemont Copper is considering adding solar energy to power its administrative buildings, which could result in the installation of the largest solar panel arrays in the Tucson area and second-biggest solar facility in the metro area, reports Arizona Daily Star.
The Soaring Heights Community at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona is expected to be the largest solar-powered community in the continental U.S. and largest solar facility in the Tuscon area.
Rosemont hired a consultant, DLM-LLC Associates, to develop a renewable energy plan for the company. The consultant is currently seeking proposals from solar installers around the state to design and build five prototype solar power technologies. Winners will be selected on July 30.
The copper company will spend $500,000 to test the prototypes for a year on its property, near the site of its proposed open pit mine. Once the testing is completed, Rosemont will choose one or more of the systems for its site, according to the newspaper.
DLM-LLC expects the Rosemont Copper Project to be used as a model for modern copper mining. The consultant company will also provide LEED verification and accreditation services for the operation’s new administration facilities.
Other sustainable features planned for the mine include a system to replenish groundwater pumped for the mine, and the use of a dry-stack tailings system to prevent liquids from seeping into groundwater. The site also plans to use gearless motors to power its mills because they use less energy.
The company expects to start operating the mine by 2012 but it could be delayed by local opposition, reports Arizona Daily Star. Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, an opponent of the mine, told the newspaper that “a few solar panels won’t hide a mile-wide hole in the ground.”