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Protests mount for Resolution Copper mine on Apache ancestral land

Tupac Acosta pounded on a drum as he and a handful of others tried to grab the attention of motorists headed down Camelback Road in Phoenix late Friday morning.

Their goal: Bring attention to a federal land exchange they say endangers an area sacred to the San Carlos Apache tribe.

“Today’s action is an act of solidarity, a protest against the inclusion of Oak Flat in the National Defense Authorization Act that was passed in December,” Acosta said.

People from Tonatierra, an indigenous people’s organization, held up signs outside of Sen. John McCain’s office. McCain led the efforts to approve the land exchange with Resolution Copper Mining, which plans to break ground on a $61.4 billion mining operation in southeastern Arizona by mid-2020, according to its website.

In a statement, McCain said the mine would generate an estimated 1,400 jobs and would have an economic impact of about $61.4 billion over its operational lifetime.