Buried deep in the middle of a 328-page, August 28 regulatory filing (large file warning) Vancouver, B.C.-based Augusta Resource Corporation makes the stunning disclosure that engineering work at the company’s Rosemont copper project was suspended 15 months ago.
“The initial capital cost estimate is an update of the 2009 Updated Feasibility Study and reflects the status of engineering at the suspension of work in July 2011.” (Emphasis added.)
The statement, which can be found on page 226 of Augusta’s 2012 Updated Feasibility Study prepared by M3 Engineering and Technology Corp., appears to be the first and only time, that Augusta has publicly disclosed that it suspended engineering work more than a year ago for the proposed open-pit copper mine it wants to build in the Santa Rita Mountains on the Coronado National Forest south of Tucson.The fact that Augusta has ceased engineering work on its proposed mile-wide, half-mile deep open pit mine undercuts the company’s repeated pledges that it is working aggressively to design a mine that greatly exceeds environmental regulations set by county, state and federal regulators.
It also provides further evidence that Augusta may be deceiving investors, government regulators, and the people of southern Arizona who would be affected by the proposed mine.
First, the Feasibility Study directly contradicts a statement Augusta made to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission and the British Columbia Securities Commission in its 2011 annual report concerning engineering work at the proposed mine.
“The Company continued with the engineering throughout 2011,” Augusta states in its March 19, 2012 Annual Information Form for fiscal year 2011. “Detailed engineering work has been adjusted to match the revised construction schedule.”
In addition, in August 2012, just three weeks before the Feasibility Study disclosing that engineering had been suspended, Rosemont’s senior mine geologist, Jeffrey Cornoyer, told the Arizona Geological Society that Rosemont is in the “process of final engineering.” An abstract of his remarks were reprinted in the Society’s newsletter.
Either Augusta is misleading regulators and investors when it claims in its annual report that engineering work “continued” throughout 2011 and has been “adjusted” to meet construction schedules and when Rosemont’s senior mining engineer says that it is in the “process of final engineering” or it is misleading them when it says in the Feasibility Study that engineering was suspended in July 2011.
Misleading regulators is the latest episode in Augusta’s ongoing campaign of deception. Other recent examples are chronicled on the Rosemont Mine Truth website.