In order for the land transfer to happen and mining to begin, the US Forest Service has to publish its environmental impact assessment of the Resolution Copper project, which is expected at the end of 2021. As one of its last acts, the Trump administration drastically speeds up the process in order to give Resolution Copper control of the land before the Biden administration can halt it.
In January 2021, the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is published almost a year ahead of schedule, after which the land transfer is required to happen within 60 days, before March 15. This fast-tracking of the project results in an outcry and hundreds of groups urge President Biden to revoke the deal. Three lawsuits are filed by the Apache Stronghold, the San Carlos Apache Tribe, and a Coalition of Tribal and Conservation organisations.
On March 2, the FEIS is rescinded, putting a temporary stop on the project. A new and complete FEIS is expected to show that the Resolution Copper project is not viable and must be abandoned.
The widespread resistance against the Resolution Copper project is noticeably absent from Rio Tinto’s own timeline.