Augusta Resource Corp. officials have repeatedly stated that its Rosemont Copper Co. subsidiary has no plans to develop three mining claims along the ridgeline and west side of the Santa Rita Mountains in addition to the massive Rosemont copper mine it wants to blast into the eastern slope.
“We don’t intend to do any mining development there,” Augusta CEO Gil Clausen told the Arizona Daily Star last winter.
But once again, what Augusta’s top executives say in public doesn’t necessarily correspond to what the company is stating in reports to regulators and investors.
Augusta is now stating in regulatory filings that the Rosemont mine may expand to include the Broadtop Butte mining claim, which is located north of the proposed mile-wide Rosemont open pit and on top of the ridgeline.
“Mineralization is also known to occur at Broadtop Butte, which could potentially be added as a satellite development,” Augusta states in an August 28 feasibility study (large file warning) submitted to Canadian securities regulators.
Augusta has not included the Broadtop Butte mining claim in its Draft Environmental Impact Statement, now under review by the U.S. Forest Service, nor in its Mine Plan of Operations for the Rosemont mine.
But the fact the company is now telling investors and regulators that Broadtop Butte could become a “satellite” operation clearly suggests the company has plans to expand the Rosemont project into new areas.
And contrary to Clausen’s assertion that there is no intention to mine two other claims on the western face of the Santa Ritas, Augusta continues to tell investors and regulators that there is copper present, leaving open the door for future mining.
“Further mineralization also occurs in the Copper World and Peach-Elgin deposits on the Rosemont Property,” Augusta states in the feasibility study.
For several years, Augusta has been doing the two-step of telling nervous residents of Green Valley and Sahuarita that it has no intention of mining the top and western flank of the Santa Ritas while at the same time telling investors that it has three additional claims that could be developed.
With the latest regulatory filing, Augusta is sending a clear signal it intends to mine Broadtop Butte.