The first stages of a State-of-the-art greenhouse study, commissioned by Rosemont Copper and undertaken by Dr. Jeffrey Fehmi of the University of Arizona School of Natural Resources, have been completed. The studies were performed for the purpose of identifying optimum plant species for revegetation.
Twenty-nine species were chosen for the greenhouse evaluation. The selected species are native and represent the highest condition native plant communities. This array of plants maximizes the ability to select a successful mix at the end of greenhouse testing and will allow the final seed mix to have the components of a resilient and productive system. The species chosen for inclusion are currently available from large-scale commercial seed vendors and meet the NRCS’s ecological site description.
In the spring of 2009 test plots at the facility site will be cleared and planted with a variety of successfully greenhouse tested seed mixes. These field tests will continue until the ideal seed mix has been established. To support revegetation activities, Rosemont Copper has created the Rosemont Cattle Company with the intention of using cattle as a part of the seedbed preparation process.
Native seeds can be difficult to grow and reproduce. Cattle come into play in a big way to assist in this process. Seeds do better if incorporated into the soil so they don't dry out and blow away. Cattle hooves can press the seed into the soil where it has a better chance of survival. Grazing cattle create textured soil which helps capture water and nutrients.
The natural action of cattle grazing help stimulate vegetable growth by trampling weeds and eating weed flowers. In addition, the production of manure provides benefits for reclaimed lands. Cattle can be utilized in areas of poor growth to concentrate manure to increase microorganism populations and soil fertility.
The use of cattle in soil development has been proven to be very successful. Much of the outer surface of the Rosemont Ridge landform will be suitable for grazing once vegetation is established. The post-mining use of this facility will include ongoing ranching.
The Rosemont mine is designed to employ reclamation practices from the start of mining activities.