House preparing to approve Arizona copper mine land swap

Under the bill, Resolution Copper Mining LLC, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto and BHP-Billiton, would give up 1,194 acres of land in southeast Arizona to the U.S. Forest Service. Resolution would also give 4,150 acres of land to the Bureau of Land Management.

In return, Resolution would receive 2,422 acres in the middle of what is now the Oak Flat Campground. No mining is currently allowed on that site, but according to report language accompanying the bill, Resolution found a "very large copper deposit" in the late 1990s about a mile under the surface of the site.

Under the bill, Resolution would give up more than twice as much land as it receives from the federal government. However, the bill would also require the company to give up more land if it is determined that the land it receives is worth more than the land it gives up.

The bill is sponsored by five Arizona Republicans: Paul Gosar, Trent Franks, Ben Quayle, Jeff Flake and David Schweikert.