Forest Service excluded EPA and Arizona tribe from review of draft report on Rosemont’s impacts on endangered species


An Arizona Indian tribe and the U.S. Environmental Protection agency were excluded from making comments on a draft federal report on the impact of the proposed Rosemont mine on a dozen threatened and endangered species, the Arizona Daily Star reported on Aug. 7.

The Forest Service, according to the Daily Star, said it declined to release the draft to the tribe, the EPA and “other agencies and parties” that had asked for it, in part because officials felt parts of the draft would need to change.

The newspaper also reported the Forest Service said it didn’t want other parties commenting on the draft biological opinion because that would have taken significant extra time when completion of the report was on a tight legal deadline.

The Tohono O’odham Nation sent a letter to Coronado National Forest (CNF) protesting that the agency rejected the Nation’s request in March to review a draft biological opinion on the mine’s expected impact on imperiled species. Continue reading

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Hudbay posts sixth consecutive loss and plans to further reduce Rosemont spending

Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. posted its sixth consecutive quarterly loss during the 2nd quarter ending June 30 and plans to “substantially” reduce spending on its Arizona Rosemont copper project during the rest of 2016.

Hudbay’s 2nd quarter loss of $5.7 million brings its total losses since the beginning of 2015 to $353 million, according to its 2nd quarter Management Discussion & Analysis report.

“Net loss and loss per share in the second quarter of 2016 was affected by, among other things, non-cash deferred tax adjustments of $8.4 million or negative $0.04 per share,” the company stated in a press release.

The string of losses has occurred even as Hudbay greatly increased revenue and total mineral production with the 2015 completion of construction and beginning of operations at its 80,000 ton-per-day Constancia open-pit copper mine in Peru.

“Notwithstanding lower copper and zinc realized prices, revenues nearly doubled and gross profit increased more than ten-fold compared to the same quarter last year as a result of higher sales volumes and cost optimization at our operations,” the MDA report states. Continue reading

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Federal agency recommends denial of crucial Clean Water Act permit needed for Hudbay’s proposed Rosemont mine

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles district office is recommending denial of a crucial Clean Water Act permit requested by Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. needed to build its proposed Rosemont open-pit copper mine in southeastern Arizona.

The Corps’ L.A. district commander sent the recommendation last week to the agency’s San Francisco regional office, which will make the final decision, the Arizona Daily Star reported on Thursday.

A decision by the Corps regional office — which can be appealed — could be six months off due to its complexity, a Corps spokeswoman told the Daily Star.

Hudbay told the Daily Star that sending the permit decision up for a more senior level review within the Army Corps has always been a potential path of action under the agency’s procedures.

Continue reading

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Environmental group initiates legal action challenging federal Endangered Species Act ruling on Rosemont mine plan

A Tucson-environmental group sent notice Wednesday it intends to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency’s “biological opinion” issued in April that concluded the proposed Rosemont mine would not jeopardize the survival of a dozen threatened and endangered species, including the nation’s only known wild jaguar.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed the required 60-day notice of intent to sue under the Endangered Species Act challenging the service’s biological opinion that removes a major obstacle in Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc.’s plans to build the Rosemont open-pit copper mine.

“The Rosemont mine would be a fatal blow for an array of plants and animals already teetering on the brink of extinction,” says CBD conservation advocate Randy Serraglio.

“Jaguars can’t survive without water and neither can the endangered fish and frogs living in the area’s creeks and springs,” Serraglio states. “The fact is, there’s no way they’ll be able to escape Rosemont’s destruction.” Continue reading

Posted in Endangered Species, Hudbay, Litigation | 2 Comments

Crucial Rosemont federal water permit decision expected within weeks

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will make a permitting decision in the next few weeks on Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc.’s Clean Water Act (CWA) permit for its proposed Rosemont copper project southeast of Tucson, the Arizona Daily Star reports.

Hudbay must obtain the CWA Section 404 permit before construction could begin on the $1.5 billion open-pit copper mine that would be built in the Santa Rita Mountains on the Coronado National Forest.

Hudbay has submitted a mitigation plan to the Army Corps to compensate for the destruction of rare desert wetlands from the proposed mine. Hudbay’s plan”would protect four parcels of more than 4,800 acres at a $48 million cost,” the Daily Star reports.

Neither the Corps nor the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has veto power over Corps 404 permits and has been sharply critical of earlier mitigation plans, would comment on Hudbay’s mitigation plan, the newspaper states. Continue reading

Posted in Clean Water Act, Hudbay, water | 3 Comments