From the Wires
SSSR: Augusta Resource's Rosemont copper mine facing questions and mounting opposition
By: PR Newswire
Nov. 15, 2012 02:18 PM
TUCSON, Ariz., Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Two Arizona Congressmen and a southern Arizona county executive have raised serious questions about Rosemont Copper Company and its proposed copper mine near Tucson. They have asked the U.S. Forest Service to prepare a new Draft Environmental Impact Statement before allowing Rosemont and its Canadian parent company, Augusta Resource Corporation, to begin digging the mine.
The questions stem from Augusta's unexpected announcement in July that it was making sweeping changes to the Rosemont mine operating plans on which the original environmental review was based. As a result of these "substantial changes," a new environmental report is required to assess the impacts of the new operating plan.
Augusta and Rosemont are seeking state and federal permits to build the mile-wide, half-mile deep open-pit mine about 30 miles south of Tucson and to dump hundreds of millions of tons of mine waste laced with mercury, lead, arsenic and other toxics on more than 3,000 acres of the adjacent Coronado National Forest.
The Forest Service is expected to make a decision before the end of the year on whether to issue a Final EIS for the Rosemont copper mine or require Augusta to prepare a new environmental analysis that could delay the project.
In its July announcement, Augusta said the changes to its proposed mining plan included piling an additional 70 million tons of oxide ore in nearby National Forest canyons and streams, while processing an additional 121 million tons of sulfide ore - a 22% increase over the original plan.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-07), in an August 13 letter to Vilsack, also called for the Forest Service to require Augusta to submit a new DEIS, citing the significant changes to the mining plan.
On Oct. 17, Rep. Ron Barber (AZ-08) wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who oversees the Forest Service, making the case that Augusta's changes have "significantly alter(ed) the original mining plan of operation" and that a new DEIS should be prepared.
Recently, Pima County's top administrator also demanded a new DEIS. The proposed mine is located in southern Pima County. "A new draft DEIS and public comment period are warranted for this project," Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry wrote in an Oct. 25 letter to Coronado National Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch.
Mounting opposition to the project comes at the same time Augusta has come under fire for a series of false or misleading statements the company is making to regulators, investors and the public about the proposed mine.
The following examples provide evidence that the company may be deceiving investors, regulators and Arizonans who would be affected by the proposed mine.
SOURCE Save the Scenic Santa Ritas (SSSR)
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