Saturday, March 5, 2011
Why is a mining company undermining Arizona’s Mining and Mineral Museum?
The website for the Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation ( http://www.arizona100.org/) shows one “major contributor”. That is Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold. Their logo is prominently displayed on the Foundation’s website, and they are also the only major contributor identified. That presents the greatest mystery of the near secret 5C Arizona Centennial Museum boondoggle. Why is, of all things, a mining company supporting it?
The centennial museum will completely displace the existing top rated mining and mineral museum and its K-12 education programs. The existing mineral museum displays the history, the technology, and the products of the copper industry. It supports the mining industry by inspiring and educating future geologists and mining engineers. The sole source contractor’s questionnaire for the new centennial museum revealed that it will only present the social aspects of the mining industry. On the surface, replacing the technology focused mineral museum with the socially focused centennial museum is a major loss for Freeport. So why are they so willing to provide a million dollars of financial support for the centennial museum?
Freeport’s lobbyist was initially very active in promoting the centennial museum legislation that is now destroying the mineral museum. Other industries representing the 5Cs (cattle, cotton, and citrus) eventually recognized that the centennial museum is a very bad idea and backed out of the industry collation that was supposedly going to fund it. Yet Freeport continues to support it for no obvious reason. They are the major financial contributor, and their lobbyist is a board member on the Arizona Centennial 2012 Foundation.
Obviously, there has to be a reason, but it appears to have nothing to do with the public promotion of Freeport’s industry or products and nothing to do with training future employees. Until recently, Freeport was a major supporter of the mineral museum. Suddenly, they appear eager to sacrifice, and even support the destruction of, the mineral museum. There must be something much more important that they want.
What could it be?