Hudbay CEO tells financial analysts that Rosemont will receive key Clean Water Act permit

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Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals CEO Alan Hair told investment analysts last week that its proposed Rosemont Mine will receive the two outstanding federal approvals needed for construction to begin on the $1.5 billion open-pit copper mine.

Rosemont needs a Clean Water Act (CWA) permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and final approval from the U.S. Forest Service before construction could begin on the third largest open pit copper mine in the U.S. planned for the Santa Rita Mountains on the Coronado National Forest southeast of Tucson.

“I think it’s fair to say that we’ve always viewed permitting as a scientific and technical process and we believe that good science will prevail,” Hair said in a Feb. 23 conference call with analysts. “We’ve got no reason to believe that we won’t achieve our permits in due course.” Continue reading

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Hudbay again reduces Rosemont spending

Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. plans to spend $20 million in 2017 on its proposed Rosemont open-pit copper mine, down from $30 million last year and $50 million in 2015.

“Arizona spending of $20 million on the Rosemont project is intended to support ongoing permitting efforts,” Hudbay reported last week.

The roll-back in investment in Rosemont comes at the same time Hudbay states it may challenge the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to require Hudbay’s subsidiary Rosemont Copper Company to obtain a Clean Water Act permit before construction can begin on the $1.5 billion mine.

Hudbay’s threat to challenge the Army Corps’ permitting authority comes after the agency’s district office recommended last summer that the Section 404 CWA permit be denied. The Corps regional office in San Francisco is expected to make a decision on Hudbay’s permit application later this year. Continue reading

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Hudbay warns it may challenge federal authority requiring Clean Water Act permit for its Rosemont copper mine

Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. is warning the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that it may legally challenge the Corps’ authority requiring Hudbay’s Rosemont Copper Company subsidiary to obtain a Clean Water Act permit prior to beginning construction of the proposed Rosemont Mine.

Neither Hudbay, nor Rosemont’s previous owner, have previously challenged the Corps’ jurisdictional authority over the proposed mine.

Hudbay’s salvo comes after the Corps’ Los Angeles district office recommended last July that Rosemont’s application for the permit be denied. The Corps’ South Pacific Division in San Francisco is reviewing the permit application and is expected to make a decision later this year.

Hudbay vice-president Patrick Merrin stated in a Nov. 17 letter to the Corps that the company will likely challenge the Corps’ permitting authority if the federal agency refuses to issue Rosemont’s request for the permit that would allow its mile-wide, half-mile deep open-pit copper mine to dump waste rock and mine tailings on 3,000 acres of the Coronado National Forest. Continue reading

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Army Corps says Rosemont Mine would violate Arizona clean water rules and seriously degrade federal washes

The Daily Star obtained a Dec. 28 letter from the Corps’ regional office in San Francisco to Hudbay that details the rationale behind the district’s recommendation. The Daily Star obtained the letter through a federal Freedom of Information Act request.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles district office, which last year recommended denial of Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals’ application for a federal Clean Water Act permit to construct the proposed Rosmont Mine, determined the project would “cause or contribute to” violations of Arizona water quality standards and trigger “significant degradation” of federally regulated washes, the Arizona Daily Star reported on Jan. 14.

The letter states the district office concluded:

  • Rosemont Copper’s plan to buy, preserve and environmentally restore more than 4,800 acres to offset its impacts is inadequate.
  • Completion of what would be the U.S.’ third-largest copper mine would negatively affect surface water quality, sediment distribution and use of the area by humans and wildlife, including federally protected species.
  • Granting the permit would be against the general public interest. To approve a permit, the Corps must find that it would be in the public interest.

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Posted in Clean Water Act, Hudbay, water | 4 Comments

Trump’s election no guarantee Hudbay will obtain federal permits needed to construct the Rosemont copper mine

Donald J. Trump’s election to President doesn’t mean the federal regulations that have so far blocked Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals’ plans to construct the $1.5 billion Rosemont copper mine will be easily eliminated clearing the way for construction of the controversial open-pit mine, The Arizona Daily Star reported Sunday.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles district office last July recommended  denying issuing Hudbay the crucial Section 404 Clean Water Act permit for the Rosemont project. The Corps’ San Francisco division office is expected to make a final decision in the near future.

If the division office also decides to deny the 404 permit, then the new Trump administration would be faced with a difficult challenge of overturning the decision, according to the Daily Star.

The paper reported:

“If the Trump administration wanted to overturn an unfavorable decision, it would have to reopen a very detailed record and develop additional facts or analysis,” said Tracy Mehan, an assistant Environmental Protection Agency administrator under President George W. Bush and now head of government affairs for the nonprofit American Water Works Association.

Continue reading

Posted in Clean Water Act, Hudbay | 2 Comments