Recent tailings failure in Mexico and Canada “justify expensive and time consuming permitting process”


A leading provider of “news and education on the copper market” is warning investors that because of the recent tailings facility failures in both Mexico and Canada, it is “more important than ever for investors to find evidence that companies are environmentally and socially aware.”

Just last week, a massive tailings dam failed at the Buenavista del Cobre mine in Canenea, Sonora, and dumped 40 million liters of copper sulfate into the Rio Sonora. Mexican authorities are blaming the mine’s owners, Southern Copper Corp., a subsidiary of Grupo México.

The Mexico News Daily reported Friday that Mexico’s environmental agency Profepa is blaming the mine’s operators for massive tailings release that was not immediately reported to authorities.

The News Daily is reporting that Arturo Rodríguez Abitia, assistant prosecutor of industrial inspection at Profepa, said the mine acted in a negligent manner for not having monitored the release of the contents of the tailings pond. He said Profepa will be looking to apply the highest penalty possible, which is about 3 million pesos, or $230,000. Continue reading

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Engineering firm currently responsible for failed Canadian tailings dam also designed Rosemont’s tailings dump

The engineering firm that is currently responsible for the design of the failed Mount Polley tailings dam in British Columbia is also the lead engineer for the proposed Rosemont mine’s dry stack tailings dump.

The Vancouver Sun reported earlier this week that AMEC Earth and Environmental took over as lead engineer for the Mount Polley facility in March 2011. AMEC has been the lead engineering firm for Rosemont’s mine tailings waste dump since at least 2007 when the Mine Plan of Operations was submitted to the U.S. Forest Service.

AMEC is one of world’s largest environmental engineering firms with more than 27,000 employees operating in more then 40 countries. reported on August 7 that Knight Piesold, Ltd. was the original designer of the Mount Polley tailings dam and that Knight Piesold has also worked as a subcontractor for AMEC on the Rosemont tailings design. The next day, Knight Piesold issued a statement that it had severed ties with Mount Polley in 2011. Continue reading

Posted in Catastrophic Failure, General | 4 Comments

Hudbay’s Rosemont exploration drilling plan raises questions about mine’s size and environmental damage

Hudbay Minerals Inc. is planning extensive additional exploration drilling at the proposed Rosemont open-pit copper mine that appears to be an effort to expand the amount of known copper reserves that could lead to greater production and extend the life of the mine beyond the now projected 20 years.

Additional production would also greatly increase the amount of waste rock and  mine tailings that would be produced at the mine planned for the northeastern flank of the Santa Rita Mountains on the Coronado National Forest southeast of Tucson. More than 99 percent of the rock and ore that would be mined will end up as waste rock and tailings.

A deeper pit could also have greater negative impact on the ground water aquifer in the area, particularly on several endangered fish and frogs in Las Cienegas National Conservation Area in the valley immediately east of the mine site.

More waste rock and tailings dumped on more than 3,000 acres of Coronado National Forest could also increase negative impacts on Cienega Creek and Davidson Canyon, which are classified as Arizona Outstanding Waters and legally protected from any degradation. Continue reading

Posted in EIS, General, Hudbay | 5 Comments

Engineering firm that designed collapsed BC mining waste dam is key player in Rosemont’s proposed tailings dump

(8/11/2014 Update: On August 8, 2014, Knight Piésold, Ltd. issue a statement indicating that it had ceased being the “Engineer of Record” for the Mount Polley Mine in 2011. You can click here to read this statement along with a letter the firm sent to Mount Polley leadership.)

The engineering firm that designed the tailings dam that collapsed on Monday Aug. 4  in British Columbia is playing a key role in the engineering of the tailings facility for Rosemont Copper Company’s proposed open-pit copper mine.

The tailings pond dam breach at the Mount Polley mine released an estimated 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of fine sand into Polley Lake. Here's a look from the air. Photograph by: Screen grab, Cariboo Regional District, YouTube

The tailings pond dam breach at the Mount Polley mine released an estimated 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of fine sand into Polley Lake. Photograph: Vancouver Sun/Screen grab, Cariboo Regional District, YouTube

Knight Piésold Ltd., an international engineering and environmental services firm, has been the geotechnical engineering consultant for Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley tailings storage facility that released millions of cubic meters of tailings water into Hazeltine Creek, which empties into Quesnel Lake, about 370 miles north of Vancouver.

Knight Piésold has also conducted laboratory testing on materials that would be used in Rosemont’s proposed tailings facility. Knight Piésold conducted the analysis as a subcontractor for AMEC Earth & Environmental, Inc., which prepared the final design report for Rosemont’s dry stack tailings storage facility in April 2009. Continue reading

Posted in Catastrophic Failure, water | 5 Comments

Rosemont mine is lynchpin to Hudbay’s plan to construct massive industrial mining complex in southern Arizona

In the wake of taking control of Augusta Resource Corp. and its Rosemont Copper Company subsidiary, Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals is already looking to expand its planned industrial mining operations in the Santa Rita Mountains to other sites in Southern Arizona, Hudbay President and CEO David Garofalo told the Green Valley News & Sun editorial board this week.

“What attracts us to Arizona is it is an historic copper district, it’s copper country,”  Garofalo said in a meeting Tuesday with the Green Valley News.

“Our geologists and geophysicists salivate over the potential within this district, and our objective, in addition to building Rosemont, is…to start to accumulate property positions, hopefully within spitting distance of the industrial complex we’ll build at Rosemont, so that we can continue to extend the life of that, and keep high-paying jobs for the foreseeable future,” Garofalo said.

Hudbay has a long history of establishing an industrial toehold in a region and then constructing numerous mines in the immediate area that often operate for decades. The company’s primary mining operations have been centered in the small town of Flin Flon, Manitoba, about 475 miles north-northeast of Winnipeg on the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border.

Hudbay operated an antiquated, highly-polluting copper smelter in Flin Flon for 80 years before closing it in 2010. Pollution from the smelter and other mining operations has contaminated the soil in the community, leading to a series of studies to test for lead and other metals in children. Continue reading

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