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Know the West

Mine your own business

  When a Canadian mining subsidiary showed up last year in the 1,500-person mountain community of Yarnell, Ariz., mine officials announced they were re-opening an open-pit gold mine that had been closed since 1942. Angry locals immediately formed Guardians for the Rural Environment, and members hope they can halt the cyanide heap-leach mine. They've asked the Bureau of Land Management to deny the company's request for an additional 116 acres of public land. "They've already told us they'll be blasting 800 feet from residents," says Guardians director Warren Haskins, "so we're going to keep fighting until they go away." Mark Montoya of Yarnell Mining Co., which is owned by Bema Gold, concedes his company has not received a warm reception. "The bottom line is that they don't want us here," he admits. The BLM plans to release its draft environmental impact statement this fall. For more information, call Guardians for the Rural Environment, 520/427-3448, and Yarnell Mining Co., 520/427-3353.