Many Cochise County residents rely on groundwater and wells to provide water for their families. But now, the Willcox Basin has a new threat with a Lithium mine potentially coming to town, which people aren’t happy about.

Max Power Mining Corp., a company based in Canada, is exploratory drilling for Lithium in the Willcox Playa, to see if it’s a viable place for a mine. The company hasn’t committed to having the mine in Cochise County, but locals are already trying end the process before it’s too late.

Johanna Seeley, a Sunsites resident, organized People for the Playa; a group of citizens trying to stop the mine from coming to the area. The Willcox Playa sits on top of the Willcox Basin the aquifer that supplies groundwater to the the northern parts of Cochise County.

It’s a natural conservation area and we dont want it ruined, Seeley said.

According to the Max Power Mining Corp. website, they are preparing to drill a third hole in the playa that will make a triangle that measures 1,640 feet by 1,640 feet by 2,300 feet.

Cochise County Board of Supervisor Peggy Judd, whose district includes the Willcox Playa, says she has received complaints about this project from citizens. She says she “opposed this type of operation” because it impacts the Sandhill Cranes, which thousands of tourists come to see each year.

Were hoping the EPA rules and regulations will stop it, Seeley said.

Lou Manuta, who is a Pearce resident and is part of People for the Playa, said he is concerned about the amount of water a lithium mine needs. He said the usage will dry out wells across the region, which is already happening.

Theres people whose only or primary water resource is the water that they are going to contaminate and use up, Manuta said.

Without water, people in the area will be forced to move.

The aquifers are going to run dry. People who live here are going to have to leave,” Manuta said. “They wont have the money at all to be able to dig deeper or dig a new well. And their property, if it wont be worthless, it will be a fraction of what it is now.

Manuta and Seeley say putting forth the effort to stop the mine is the best option for both the citizens and the mines because they won’t have to spend more money and could avoid any potential lawsuits.

Max Power Mining Corp. hasn’t said whether or not they will put the mine in the Willcox Playa. They are in the initial study phase to see if there could even be a mine there. KGUN reached out the company but didn’t hear back at the time of publication.