David Tognoni, the founder of American Magnesium LLC, wants to bring thousands of jobs to Luna County. He intends to quarry dolomite in the Little Florida Mountains, then obtain magnesium from the chunks of rock at a processing facility in a nearby industrial park.
The mine’s footprint would be 44 acres — covering a mere 0.00231 percent of the land in Luna County. No toxic/hazardous chemicals would be used, and nothing of archeological note has been discovered at the site. When the mine is closed, the “surface area shall substantially be restored to the condition that existed prior to operations.”
Tognoni foresees his company creating thousands of jobs in the area. He considers his proposed enterprise “a low risk, long term cash cow,” that if “done correctly and put together correctly … will last a very long time.” Initial investment would be $100 million.
Unfortunately, American Magnesium wants to operate on “public” land, and Tognoni’s proposal needs approval from both the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Mining and Minerals Division of the state’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. Not surprisingly, local NIMBYists have fought Tognoni from the get-go. A public hearing in May “often devolved into shouting matches,” with plenty of interruptions and speechifying. In response, an investor lamented the attendance of “C.A.V.E. people: Citizens Against Virtually Everything.”
Read details about American Magnesium’s proposal here. It’s still early, but so far, the company’s plan to turn a profit while providing jobs through responsible mining and processing of an important mineral resource looks like a winner. Let’s hope its permitting process is driven by sound science, and not the rantings of CAVE dwellers.