An Arizona Court of Appeals panel overturned a lower court ruling Tuesday blocking an Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) air permit for the Rosemont Project. The three-judge panel of Presiding Judge Diane M. Johnsen, joined by Judge Randall M. Howe and Judge Andrew W. Gould, ruled that a Maricopa County Superior Court judge erroneously ruled in March 2015 and that the “substantial evidence supported the department’s determination that the proposed Rosemont Mine will not exceed air quality standards.”
The lawsuit was filed in 2014 by Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, a community group opposed to the Rosemont Project.
ADEQ called Tuesday’s ruling an “important step in the process” toward ensuring public safety. “We’re pleased with the court’s decision, which affirms that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issues permits that are both protective of public health and the environment. We are confident Rosemont met that ultimate goal and stand behind our research and decision to issue the permit.”
Patrick Merrin, a vice president for Hudbay Minerals Inc., which proposes to build the mine, said in a prepared statement, “We are pleased with the court’s decision that validates the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s hard work and depth of expertise when it granted the air permit for the Rosemont Project.”
Rosemont Project permitting efforts remain ongoing. On February 3, 2015, ADEQ issued the Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification. The remaining required key permits are the final Record of Decision from the U.S. Forest Service and the Clean Water Act Section 404 Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Rosemont Project is operated under Hudbay’s Arizona Business Unit through its subsidiary, Rosemont Copper Company. The Rosemont Project will set a high standard for sustainable mining practices, with plans to consume less than half the water and a much smaller land area of comparable mines through its use of dry stack tailings. The site is intended to be reclaimed from the start of operations and remain as permanent open space. The Rosemont Project is expected to provide about 10 percent of the U.S. copper supply during production. An Arizona State University study found the Rosemont Project, when in operation, will add 406 direct and 1,700 indirect jobs, $3 billion in increased personal income, $404 million in local taxes and $15 billion in local economic revenue. For more information, visit www.hudbayminerals.com.