Financial report: Hudbay plans to develop three open pit mines in Santa Rita Mountains


A detailed analysis in an online financial publication is reporting that Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals is planning to develop three open-pit copper deposits at its proposed Rosemont Mine project in the Santa Rita Mountains on the Coronado National Forest southeast of Tucson.

Hudbay is currently seeking federal approval to construct a single massive open pit mine that would be a mile in diameter and more than a half-mile deep. The waste rock and mine tailings from the mine would be dumped on more than 3,000 acres of Coronado National Forest.

“The Rosemont project is a series of three open-pit copper/moly/silver deposits located near a large amount of large porphyry type producing copper mines,” according to the report written by Connor Ward that was published on April 27 in the online financial news site Seeking Alpha. Continue reading

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Hudbay identifies major deposits with economic potential adjacent to its proposed Rosemont open pit copper mine

Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. has identified an additional 591 million tons of copper-bearing rock in deposits adjacent to its proposed mile-wide, half-mile deep Rosemont open pit copper mine that it says could be economically mined in the future.

The additional resources were disclosed in a March 31 feasibility study required by Canadian regulators and used to obtain financing for the project. The disclosure of additional resources equal to what the company already plans to extract from the pit mine raises questions about the scope and lifespan of the project and resulting adverse impacts.

The currently proposed Rosemont pit is located within a larger area the technical report defines as the “resource pit shell.” The resource pit shell extends over the Santa Rita’s ridgeline and down the western slope. The additional 591 million tons of mineralized rock lies outside the Rosemont pit but within the resource pit shell.

The Rosemont mine would be constructed on the northeastern flank of the Santa Rita Mountains on the Coronado National Forest southeast of Tucson. The mining would generate 1.25 billion tons of waste rock and mine tailings. Hudbay intends to dump the waste into 700-foot high “earthforms” spread across 3,000 acres of national forest.

The feasibility study also raises the estimated cost of constructing the mine complex to $1.9 billion, up 21 percent from the company’s $1.5 billion projection made in Feb. 2015. Augusta Resource, the previous owner of the Rosemont site, estimated the mine would cost $1.2 billion in 2012 and $890 million in 2009.

Hudbay’s current plans call for mining 592 million tons of ore from the open pit that would contain 5.3 billion pounds of copper, 142 million pounds of molybdenum and 79 million ounces of silver. The company states it plans to process 90,000 tons of ore per day and produce an average of 279 million pounds of copper per year over the estimated 19-year life of the pit. Continue reading

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

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

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

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

Posted in Clean Water Act, Hudbay, water | 6 Comments