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.

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Hudbay pays Peruvian National Police to provide security for its Constancia mine

Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. has a contract with the Peruvian National Police to provide security services at its Constancia mine in Peru, according to records obtained by a Peruvian human rights group.

Ruth Iberra Luque, a representative of the organization Derechos Humanos Sin Fronteras (Human Rights Without Borders), released records she obtained through a 2014 public records request showing that at least 14 multi-national mining companies have contracts with the Peruvian National Police, according to an Oct. 28 article in Diario Uno.

The agreements call for the mining companies to pay police about $30 per day, which converts to about 100 Peruvian Soles per day. The average monthly wage in Peru in Sept. 2016 was 1,702 Soles, according to the Trading Economics website. Continue reading

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Hudbay reduces Rosemont spending, now looks to develop other mining projects first

Hudbay CEO Alan Hair

Hudbay CEO Alan Hair

Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. continues to cut spending on its Rosemont copper project and is now emphasizing developing major projects in Manitoba and Peru before it turns its attention to constructing the $1.5 billion open pit mine in the Santa Rita Mountains on the Coronado National Forest southeast of Tucson, according to company information released last week.

Hudbay’s deemphasis on Rosemont comes at the same time the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles district office in July recommended denial of a federal Clean Water Act permit needed to construct the mine. The Army Corps regional office in San Francisco is reviewing the recommendation and is expected to make a decision later this winter.

Hudbay CEO Alan Hair told investment analysts in a Nov. 3 conference call the company expects to issue an updated Rosemont technical report in the 1st Quarter of 2017 “outlining the feasibility work completed to date and an updated reserve and resource estimate.”

Investment analysts appear to have written off any possibility of Rosemont being developed in the next two years. Mathew Fields of Bank of America Merrill Lynch stated “we can get forget about Rosemont for while” when he asked about Hudbay’s capital expenditure plans for 2017 and 2018, according to a transcript of the conference call published by Yahoo Finance. Continue reading

Posted in Hudbay, Investors | 3 Comments