Mine Inspector

The little-known position of mine inspector is a four-year state office that pays $50,000 annually for a job overseeing administrators and inspectors who visit the state's mines to observe working conditions, investigate accidents and safety complaints and train miners in safety.

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  • Candidate picture

    Joe Hart
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    William "Bill" Pierce
    (Dem)

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Biographical Information

What makes you the best person for the job?

Why are you the best person for the position of State Mine Inspector?

How do you see the role of the mine inspector and why is it important for Arizona in 2018?

What is your background in the mining industry and how will you use that to your advantage if elected?

How do you view the future of the mining industry in Arizona?

How will you deal with budget and staff cuts to ensure mine inspection and safety remains the No. 1 priority?

What’s your plan for promoting awareness among Arizonians (those not involved with mining directly) about mine safety and the dangers of abandoned mines near their homes?

What steps do you hope to take to make sure mine information is as easily accessible to citizens as possible?

What is your view on the question of restoring mining operations in the Grand Canyon area?

How should the state deal with the complex issues of uranium mining? How might you be involved in these debates?

Age 74
Family Married, Rhonda 50 years, 4 daughters, 11 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren
Campaign Phone (602) 528-3684
As a lifelong 3rd generation Arizonan, I care deeply about our state. Mining and the safety of miners is of the upmost importance to me as I am a proud fourth generation Arizona miner. My great grandfather, grandfather, father, myself and my wife’s grandfather, father and uncles all worked in mining in Arizona. Mining was a major contributor to the building of this state and continues to contribute significantly to state’s economy. I am proud to be a small part of that heritage. I started working in my dad’s mines as a young boy and then went on to an 18-year career with the Duval Mining Company in Kingman, Arizona. As a former miner, foreman and safety supervisor, I know first-hand what it takes to make sure my crew went home safe to their families after every shift. The mines were good to me and my family and were an important part of our community. Therefore, I take seriously the responsibility of making sure that Arizona continues to be a strong and responsible mining state.
During my career working in Arizona mines, I learned what was necessary to perform the jobs on the work-site safely. I never asked a member of my crew to do a task that I would not do myself. My on the job mining experience coupled with my legislative experience makes me uniquely qualified to serve as the state mine inspector. While serving in the state legislature, I was actively involved in natural resources issues and worked closely with legislators in others states. I also gained experience collaborating with the legislature and executive branches. During my tenure, our office has made significant strides in providing training for miners, securing and permanently closing abandoned mines and making sure lands are reclaimed after mining use. It has been a great honor to serve as your state mine inspector. If re-elected, I will continue to protect mine workers, provide superior safety training, close dangerous abandoned mines and reclamation of land after mining is completed.
Arizona is the only state in the nation to have an elected State Mine Inspector. The framers of the Arizona Constitution understood the importance of mining to the state and wanted to ensure the safety of the miners. The mine inspector continues today to play a vital role in the State. Two thirds of the copper produced in the world comes from Arizona as well as several other important natural resources. The focus of the mine inspector’s office is to protect mine workers, inspect mines, close dangerous abandoned mines, provide safety training and ensure proper reclamation.
- Duval Mining Company, Kingman, Arizona, 18 years- Mining Operations and Safety Supervisor - Arizona House of Representatives, 10 years- Where I championed mine safety legislation, natural resources and abandoned mines issues. -Arizona State Mine Inspector- 12 years

As your Mine Inspector, my focus is to keep Arizona a safe place to live, work and recreate. I have secured resources to close, fence and mark thousands of dangerous abandoned mines throughout Arizona. During my tenure, 5,217 mines have been inventoried and evaluated, 1,561 have been secured, and 452 mines have been permanently secured. I have worked to raise the standards for miner safety training and inspections. Under my leadership the office has a 93% inspection rate annually. I will to continue to be a staunch advocate for mine safety, training and reclamation. I am pleased to report there have been no fatal abandoned mines accidents since January 2008.
The mining industry is as critical today as it was in 1912 when Arizona became a state. It continues to be a key economic driver. It is essential we utilize our natural resources to create jobs and stimulate our economy. Mining provides high quality jobs throughout our state and contributes significantly to Arizona’s tax base. I am a proud product of mining and I will to work to ensure that Arizona continues to be a strong and responsible mining state. The mines of today are not our grandfather’s mines. They run cleaner and more efficiently and reclamation can return the land to pristine conditions after the mining has occurred. Because of the improvements and the state’s rich mining history, I feel the mining industry will continue to be a significant contributor to the state.
Mine safety is and will always be the number one priority to me. As with any state agency in these economic times the budget is challenging. My team has worked diligently to fulfill the mission of the state mine inspector’s office even with budget constraints. Despite the economic downturn, I have been able to maintain and recruit the best and brightest in the industry.

My goal has always been to be a good steward and to make efficient use of taxpayer funds. I am always looking for opportunities to provide greater efficiencies in the office. For example, utilizing new technology to enable the staff to provide quality service that supports our mission. I will continue to review internal operations to ensure that our resources are being used most efficiently. I want to expand the use of public-private partnerships where appropriate to close abandoned mines that pose a public safety risk.
I am very proud our Abandoned Mine Safety Program- Stay Out Stay Alive. We utilize this program to teach children and the public about the dangers of abandoned mines and the importance of abandoned mine safety. In addition, in the historic capitol we have an exhibit that helps educate thousands of visitors who visit the Capitol each year.

I will continue to work to raise awareness by using social media, website, blogs and other resources to provide education about the importance of mine safety.
Accessibility to the office is very important to me. We have an informative website and use various communication tools including social media, mainstream media, stakeholder outreach and visits to schools and community events. I will continue to work to promote mine safety and abandoned mine safety through multiple outlets as I know education saves lives.
I don't support restoring mining in the Grand Canyon or in areas outside the Grand Canyon where mining would negatively impact it. The Grand Canyon is one of our greatest treasures and deserves special protection for future generations.
Unfortunately, like too many issues, the federal government has more to say then the Arizona state government and State Mine Inspector because the known uranium deposits are mostly on federal or tribal lands. Because of this, I and others have to impact the federal government's debates about these issues.
Age 70
Family Divorced 4 grown children 11 grandchildren 2 great-grandchildren
Twitter @BillPierceAZ
Campaign Phone (602) 573-4986
Over 40 years in the engineering industry Certifications: MSHA (Mining Safety and Health Administration) OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) – subsurface and confined spaces endorsement NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) – Radiation safety officer EPA erosion control and groundwater protection training
Although not a policy-making office, the Arizona Mine Inspector’s office’s primary duties are as an enforcement body to ensure compliance with federal standards dealing with workplace safety in the mining industry. Also it is charged with locating and securing abandoned mines. Whether surface or underground, any environmental issues need to be noted and reported to the proper environmental authorities. Also making sure the general public is made aware of any issues that may impact them.
Over 40 years in the engineering industry. Source testing of construction materials performed inside the mine. Geotech lab testing of core samples for geological purposes Supervised construction of an EPA-compliant leaching pad at Safford mine-construction of pad, containment dike and lab testing of materials used. Knowledge of mine and mine construction are crucial to assessing safety and environmental issues. NRC training=knowledge of dangerous issues with uranium mines. I am required by law to warn the public of any and all hazards.
The future of mining in Arizona, in general, because so many things we use every day have their origins in a mine of some sort, is good. As long as we have any form of construction or manufacturing uses for metal, rock for landscaping, etc., we will have mining in Arizona.
Contact State Legislators regarding the issues, keep people informed that we are out of compliance with the Federal regulations. When inspections are not done, it affects the safety and well-being of the miners as well as the general public. When rules are not followed, it also affects them. All I can do regarding budget and staff, is to lobby for more money and staff and keep the general public aware of the problems.
Keep the public aware of issues through the media and on the website and social media. Build a coalition of outdoor groups (Sierra Club, Outdoor sportsmen, off-roaders, etc.), and encourage them to report any abandoned mines with GPS coordinates. Also educate children about the dangers through interaction with schools and preschools. There are 1523 known, unsecured abandoned mines currently, with many more possible unknown.
I would like to make the State Mine Inspector’s website more user-friendly and accessible to the public. It should have a searchable database that includes inspection and violation data of all mines in the state. Also I want to build a relationship with the news media so that if they have questions or I have issues to tell them about, it is easy for us to communicate.
Technically, as a candidate, I am supposed to stay neutral on proposed new mining operations. However, I am able to take a stand to preserve the Grand Canyon from any mining operations.
The state needs to look at the potential dangers and long-term destruction and contamination of air, ground and water caused by uranium mining. As a licensed radiation-safety officer, I am required, by law, to actively inform the people involved, whether government or the general population, of the potential hazards and the long-term effects of any environmental damage caused by this operation. Once the water, ground and air are contaminated they cannot be restored in our lifetimes.