The Rosemont Ranch consists of 2960 deeded acres located in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson, along with 18,000 acres of grazing leases within the Coronado National Forest and adjoining state lands, for a total of about 20,960 acres. The Ranch includes the crest of the mountains, sloping down and including the ghost town of Helvetia on the west. To the east, the ranch includes the oak-studded hills of Rosemont Junction and Barrel Canyon, draining into Davidson Canyon. To the north lies Mt. Fagan, and to the south lies Box Canyon. This area can be viewed from a scenic roadside pullout along Scenic Highway 83.
In 2005 Augusta Resource, a small Canadian junior mining company bought the Rosemont Ranch and has proposed a large open pit copper mine on that property that includes dumping their tailings and waste on the adjacent 3,500 acres of Coronado National Forest lands.
The Forest Service is currently reviewing Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the mine and its impacts to the forest. In 2012 the USFWS announced plans to establish more than 838,000 acres as critical habitat for the endangered jaguar. The habitat area would include the Santa Ritas, where the proposed copper mine would be located. If the habitat designation is approved, it would be a “proceed with caution” sign for federal agencies performing or permitting work in covered areas.
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