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Aug 25, 2012 12:42 AM by John Patrick & Ian Cross

South Bisbee residents relocating as mining project moves forward

TUCSON - Residents of South Bisbee are taking the good news with the bad this evening as new details arise about their relocation process.

Back in June, residents of South Bisbee were given five months to pack up and leave their homes as Freeport McMoran Gold and Silver plans to reclaim their land. Now the mining company has tried to sweeten the deal for the residents.

Freeport McMoran agreed to pay the South Bisbee occupants around $40,000 through the Residential Purchase Program, and has given the homeowners an extra eight months to relocate.

"We're very pleased that they have realized that it's important for us to have this time to be in our homes to make these decisions," said resident Sara Traum. "I mean, this is life changing."

With the good news comes the bad: Freeport McMoran will continue with their reclamation project while residents are forced to find a new living situation, raising a new batch of questions.

"They said the reason they were evicting us is because it wouldn't be safe to be here during reclamation," Traum said. "So now all of the sudden its safe for us to be here? I dont get it."

Among the safety concerns, noise and health hazards, a new petition is being put together to delay the reclamation process until after the June 2, 2013 deadline for the residents to relocate.

Even with some extra cash and a time extension to exit, it looks like these South Bisbee residents still have something to fight for.

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