Canadian miner Hudbay Minerals marked a “major milestone” on Friday, when the US Army Corp of Engineers issued a Section 404 water permit for the Rosemont openpit copper project, in Arizona, but activists were quick to voice their opposition.
TSX- and NYSE-listed Hudbay said that it expected to move the project into development following receipt of Rosemont’s mine plan of operations from the US Forest Service (USFS).
“There is positive momentum at Rosemont and across our business as we continue to position Hudbay to create long-term and sustainable value for shareholders,” president and CEO Alan Hair said.
Rosemont has already received the final record of decision from the USFS, a process that involved 17 cooperating agencies at various levels of government, 16 hearings, more than 1 000 studies, and 245 days of public comment resulting in over 43 000 comments.
However, not-for-profit organisation Earthworks lamented the granting of the permit, saying it was issued despite opposition from Native Americans, political leaders and leaders of the local agricultural and recreation-based economy, as well as many in the local community.
The project, Earthworks claims, will threaten scarce local water supplies, endangered jaguar, and the engines that drive the local economy.
Earthworks policy director Lauren Pagel said that in permitting the Rosemont mine, the Army Corps made a “powerful argument for reforming federal mining law” and stated that a “rational law would not permit a massively unpopular mine that threatens the local economy, water supply and what may be the US’ only resident jaguar”.
House Natural Resources chairperson Raul Grijalva is expected to introduce legislation to reform the 1872 Mining Law later this year.