Forest Service states it had no legal option in issuing tentative approval for Rosemont mine, which still faces major hurdles


Stating it had no legal choice, the Coronado National Forest signed a technical document Wednesday approving Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals’ proposed Rosemont open-pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson.

The document called a “Record of Decision“, does not clear the way for construction of the $1.9 billion project that would become the third largest open pit copper mine in the United States.

The ROD specifically states that Hudbay must still obtain a federal Clean Water Act permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well as obtaining final approval from the Forest Service of its Mine Plan of Operations and post a reclamation bond.

The Army Corps has given no timetable on when it expects to issue a decision on the permit that is required under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Last July, the Corps’ Los Angeles district office recommended that the permit not be issued because of the mine’s serious negative impact on desert water resources. Continue reading

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Pima County pressures state and federal regulators to reject Rosemont Mine

Pima County is advocating with federal officials to deny a key permit and other necessary approvals for construction of the proposed Rosemont Mine and is taking legal action to revoke the state’s issuance of a Clean Water Act (CWA) certification for the $1.9 billion project.

At the center of the county’s arguments is that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality violated state law in 2015 when it issued a CWA Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Rosemont project. Pima County filed an appeal of ADEQ’s administrative decision to issue the certification on May 5 in Maricopa County Superior Court.

The 401 certification “receives significant weight” in the ongoing federal review of Rosemont’s potential impacts on rare desert wetlands and riparian areas, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds.

The state’s 401 certification is part of the materials being reviewed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as it decides whether to issue Rosemont a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit that allows dredging and filling of wetlands.

The Corps has not made a final decision on whether to issue the 404 permit, although its Los Angeles district office recommended last July that Rosemont’s permit application be denied. The mine cannot be built without the 404 permit. Continue reading

Posted in Clean Water Act, General, Groundwater, Hudbay, water | 7 Comments

Forest Service expected to approve Rosemont Mine before Army Corps makes key Clean Water Act permitting decision

The Coronado National Forest is expected to issue of Final Record of Decision approving the proposed Rosemont Mine next month, but the $1.9 billion project can not move forward until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issues a Clean Water Act permit.

The Forest Service announced its plans in a Federal Register notice published on Monday, May 8. Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals is seeking permits to construct the third-largest open pit copper mine in the United States in Santa Rita Mountains on the Coronado National Forest southeast of Tucson.

Coronado Forest Supervisor Kerwin Dewberry told the Arizona Daily Star a little less than a year ago that he wasn’t necessarily going to wait for a Corps decision before making his own, the paper reported Monday. But, the paper stated, Dewberry said he would want to see the Corps’ analysis of the mine, adding: “I’m not saying I won’t wait. I’m saying my decision is not contingent on their decision.”

The Army Corps’ Los Angeles district office last July recommended denying the permit for the Rosemont mine. The Corps’ San Francisco regional office is reviewing the permit and has repeatedly stated it has no timetable for making a final decision, the Daily Star reported. Continue reading

Posted in Clean Water Act, EIS, General, water | 6 Comments

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

Posted in Deceptions, EIS, Feasibility Study, Hudbay | 5 Comments

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

Posted in Hudbay, Investors | 8 Comments