by David Safier
"Cyanide Beach" is well worth seeing. I went to its first showing Thursday evening. The theater was packed with attendees who emailed for the free tickets. Because people were turned away, another showing is scheduled for Monday, August 27, 7pm, at the Crossroads Theater (in the shopping center on the northeast corner of Grant and Swan). If you plan to go, it's best to RSVP for a seat. You can also show up to see if there are still seats.
"Cyanide Beach" is a 23 minute documentary made by investigative journalist John Dougherty warning about the environmental damage likely to be caused by the Rosemont Mine. Most of the film is set in Sardinia, where a gold mine which was owned by a corporation directed by five of the same men who are on the governing board of Augusta Resource (the company behind Rosemont) is now an abandoned site which is a potential pollution time bomb. "Cyanide Beach" is the local name for an open pool of toxic chemicals, including cyanide, which came from the mine and now sits virtually untended. Potential leaks and regular spillovers pose a constant threat to the region. Since Augusta Resource has no track record, the Sardinia mine is the best indication for the way the company's directors plan to treat the proposed Rosemont mine in the Santa Rita Mountains.
Dougherty also details the way these mines pass from corporation to corporation, none of which accepts blame for the harm done to the environment. Is Augusta Resource simply hoping to get the permits for Rosemont Mine so it can sell, netting a huge profit for the current directors, and leave another unnamed corporation, or a string of corporations, to mine the Santa Ritas? Based on the history of the Sardinia gold mine, that's a strong possibility.
After the film, John Dougherty led an excellent Q&A.