Pima County challenges Hudbay’s efforts to reduce significance of desert streams near proposed Rosemont Mine

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Pima County is challenging Hudbay Minerals attempts to have federal regulators reclassify two desert streams that will be impacted by its proposed Rosemont Mine as fleeting, short-lived, watercourses rather than as intermittent waterways that have continuous water for extended periods.

The distinction is crucial as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reviews Hudbay’s application for a Clean Water Act (CWA) permit for the massive open pit copper mine planned in the Santa Rita Mountains on the Coronado National Forest southeast of Tucson.

Reducing the amount of water in Barrel Canyon and Davidson Canyon could potentially allow Hudbay to reduce the amount of mitigation it must provide in order to obtain the CWA permit. The $1.9 billion mine cannot be constructed without the permit.

Hudbay’s efforts to obtain the permit have run into opposition from the Army Corps because its mitigation plans have not fully compensated for the loss of desert waterways. In July 2016, the Army Corps Los Angeles district office recommended denying Hudbay’s permit application. The Corps regional office is currently reviewing Hudbay’s application.

Rather than fully mitigate the damage it will cause to desert aquatic resources, Hudbay and its contractors are attempting to reduce the significance of the desert waterways by classifying them as “ephemeral”, which means they only have water for brief periods of time. Continue reading

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Confident it will withstand legal challenges, Hudbay getting finances in place to construct $1.9 billion Rosemont Mine

Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. is taking significant financial steps to free up cash in anticipation of receiving final government approvals to begin construction on its proposed $1.9 billion Rosemont Mine and is confident the company will withstand all legal challenges to its permits, according to financial reports and statements by company officials.

“We’re feeling very well positioned now,” Hudbay Chief Financial Officer David Bryson told stock analysts during a Nov. 2 conference call related to Hudbay’s 3rd quarter earnings.

Bryson said the company’s recent stock offering along with profitable mining operations in Peru and Manitoba has put the company in good position to finance construction of Rosemont. The company raised $242 million in September by selling 24 million shares of common stock.

“Obviously, we have an underlying business,” Bryson said. “It’s capable of generating substantial amount of cash flow over what would be Rosemont’s likely construction period.” Continue reading

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

State regulators refuse to post Rosemont’s mitigation plan while extending the public comment period 14 days

[Editors Note:  The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has now posted the updated Rosemont Mitigation Plan.]

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has extended the public comment period on a crucial mitigation plan for the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine but continues to refuse to publish the proposal on its website.

Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, a Tucson citizens group opposed to the mine,  on Oct. 19 requested that the ADEQ to make the mitigation plan available on its website so that the public could provide informed comments and to extend the comment period 60 days from the day the mitigation plan is posted.

The ADEQ responded to SSSR on Oct. 24 and extended the public comment 14 days until Nov. 20. The ADEQ also stated in an email to SSSR President Gayle Hartmann that documents related to the mitigation plan were posted on its website. The ADEQ, however, has not posted the actual mitigation plan specifically requested by SSSR. Continue reading

Posted in Clean Water Act, Groundwater, Hudbay, water | 1 Comment

State regulator seeks public comment on key Rosemont mitigation plan that it has not made available for review

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on a crucial mitigation plan for the proposed $1.9 billion Rosemont Copper Mine without providing the plan for the public to review.

Instead, the ADEQ has only provided the public a brief, four-paragraph summary of an amended proposal submitted by Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals’ Arizona subsidiary Rosemont Copper Company.

The ADEQ summary outlines Rosemont’s latest proposal to modify a Sonoita Creek farm so it can qualify as conservation credits to compensate for the expected loss of desert wetlands caused by its massive copper mine.

The regulatory agency has already granted “conditional” approval of the plan before the plan has been released to the public. The ADEQ opened a public comment period on its conditional decision on Oct. 6 and is set to close 30 days later on Nov. 6. Continue reading

Posted in General, Hudbay, water | 14 Comments

Former Hudbay security chief faces new Guatemala trial for murder and aggravated assault

A Guatemalan appeal court has overturned a not guilty verdict rendered by a judge last April in the murder and aggravated assault trial of former Hudbay Minerals’ security chief Mynor Padilla.

Padilla, 53, will now face a second criminal trial before a new Guatemalan judge in the high-profile case that could have serious implications for how Canadian mining companies operate overseas.

Padilla is charged in the shooting death of Adolfo Ich, a Mayan Q’eqchi’, during a Sept. 27, 2009 protest on contested land at Fenix nickel mine in El Estor, Guatemala. At the time, Padilla was employed by Compania Guatemalteca de Niquel (CGN), then a subsidiary of HudBay.

Adolfo Ich Chamán was alleged murdered by Mynor Padilla. Photograph by James Rodriguez

Adolfo Ich Chamán
Photograph by James Rodriguez

The former Guatemalan army officer is also charged in shooting German Chub, leaving the young father paralyzed from the chest down and with one functioning lung.

Ich’s widow, Angelica Choc, Chub and 11 Mayan women who alleged they were gang raped by mine security personnel have filed civil suits in Ontario Superior Court against Hudbay in a closely watched case with fundamental implications for Canadian mining companies. About two-thirds of the world’s mining companies are based in Canada. Continue reading

Posted in Hudbay, Human Rights | 2 Comments