Sunset over the Hermosa Project site with concrete being poured.

Eco­nomic Impact

South32’s investment in the Hermosa project would create family-sustaining jobs, help fund local public schools and services, and increase opportunities for local businesses.

Aerial view of Nogales.

Growing opportunities for Southern Arizona

Santa Cruz County, where the Hermosa project is located, boasts more than 80 percent Latino population and is home to growing opportunities for the tight-knit, active community. The county seat of Nogales serves as one of the largest ports of entry between the United States and Mexico, with almost 50 percent of the nation’s produce passing through its gateways each year.

Investing to help transform the local economy

Nearly 25 percent of Santa Cruz residents live below the poverty line, and the county’s unemployment rate is consistently 50 percent above the state average. While South32 is still studying how to best develop battery-grade manganese at Hermosa, the company announced in February 2024  a $2.16 billion final investment decision on proceeding with development of the zinc-lead-silver resource. This decision represents the largest private investment in southern Arizona history and the largest investment in the Santa Cruz County economy to date by a factor of 9X. Based on a recent economic impact study would:

  • Create 900+ family-sustaining jobs. 
  • Increase opportunity for local suppliers.
  • Double the county’s nearly US $14 million property tax base – and help fund the county’s public schools, services, and community college.
  • Be equivalent to about 20 percent of the county’s current GDP.

Largest investment in the local economy to date

Creating jobs & tax revenue for our community

A recent economic impact study examined development of just the zinc-lead-silver resource at Hermosa. It showed substantial benefits to the local economy and surrounding communities which could flow from the development and some of these are detailed in the table below.

​​Importantly, this study does not account for the additional economic and community benefits that are expected to result from production of battery-grade manganese at Hermosa, which will deliver even more jobs and economic value to the region.​

Workforce development

We are committed to developing a homegrown workforce with the next-gen skills needed to bring the Hermosa project to life and support our broader community for generations to come by: ​

  • Prioritizing local hiring​.
  • Consulting workforce development experts to understand the “cross-walk” opportunities with our local workforce.​
  • Partnering with Santa Cruz County-based education institutions and tribal communities—including on STEM and robotics programs.
  • Partnering with state universities to strengthen internship opportunities.
  • Continuing to explore regional partnership opportunities to support workforce and economic development.
  • Providing training and workforce development opportunities to local residents, inclusive of those who do not have prior mining experience or who have historically been excluded from industry participation.
Smiling woman in South32 work shirt and hard hat.

Developing a state-of-the-art remote operations center

We are designing the Hermosa project with state-of-the-art technology to make it safer and more sustainable than older mines. This includes extensive use of automation technology, with part of our operations running remotely at Centro in Nogales, Arizona.

What is Centro?
It is essentially a command center, where our employees will remotely monitor mining equipment located at our mine site in the Patagonia Mountains from a commercial building that accommodates them and the technology they need in a comfortable, office-like setting. Complex construction will begin by the end of 2024.

Learn more about Hermosa’s plans for Centro.


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