|This is NOT a killer asteroid entering the Earth's atmosphere. It is a sun dog over Oak Flat Campground near Superior, Arizona. Oak Flat is going to become a gigantic crater.|
But the copper wasn't all gone. With prices up, there is renewed interest, and Resolution Mining Company has outlined a huge ore body, one of the largest in the world. But there's a problem.
The normal approach, open-pit mining, won't work. It's far too deep. Normal tunnel mining won't cut it either, because although the ore body is huge, it is low-grade, averaging around 1.5% copper, instead of the 5% or so that is required for profitable tunnel mining. So the company proposes to go after the ore using a process called panel caving (a type of block caving). They propose to start underneath the ore body, design a system of collection tunnels, and then fracture the rock above, allowing it to fall into the collection areas where the ore will be removed.
If the soldiers were U.S. military, I suspect there would be a cacophony of voices raised in righteous anger about the desecration of hallowed ground, and historical heritage and all that. But no, the warriors were Apache. The copper mining company insists that they respect the Native American heritage, and they make all kinds of public relations noise, but a great many local tribes and nations are deeply opposed to the operation.
For an excellent summary of the issues involved, please read this excellent article by Ray Sterns for Phoenix News-Times: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/a-copper-mine-near-superior-is-set-to-destroy-a-unique-sacred-recreation-area-for-fleeting-benefits-7287269