Copper Mine near Tucson dealt a blow

But the Canadian company gets a win for its other, nearby operation at Copper World.

 

The view from Arizona scenic state Highway 83, with the eastern slope of the Santa Rita Mountains in the background. An appeals court has overturned a 2019 decision by the Trump administration to allow a copper mine here.
Anita Snow / AP
Want to catch up on big developments quickly? See more stories here.

BACKSTORY
Six years ago, the Army Corps of Engineers denied Hudbay Minerals Inc., a Canadian mining corporation, a permit for a potentially mile-wide copper mine in Rosemont, Arizona, southeast of Tucson. The agency cited the potential for extreme damage to jaguar habitat, heavy metal pollution in water systems, and the desecration of the cultural sites of Indigenous nations as reasons to not dig what opponents call “the Rosemont pit.”

Then, in 2019, the Trump administration reversed the decision and gave the company the go-ahead. A coalition of Indigenous nations, who had fought the proposal for years alongside local and regional environmental organizations, responded with a lawsuit. Despite this, for the next three years, the company charged ahead with its plans anyway (“Trump administration rubber stamps copper mine,” April 2019).

FOLLOWUP
This May, in a win for mine opponents, a federal appellate judge upheld a decision to halt the Rosemont mine, largely due to the company’s plans to dump waste rock and tailings into the nearby Coronado National Forest, one of southern Arizona’s biologically diverse “sky islands.” 

Meanwhile, Copper World project, another mine that Hudbay wants to develop just west of Rosemont on a privately owned parcel of land, has faced similar pushback from environmental organizations and Indigenous nations, who argue, in part, that the mine would violate the Clean Water Act by impacting ephemeral streams. But just two weeks after the appellate judge’s Rosemont decision, a federal judge sided with Hudbay on the nearby Copper World, allowing the company to continue its exploratory drilling.

“It’s a mixed outcome,” said Stu Williams, the executive director of Save The Scenic Santa Ritas, an environmental advocacy organization. “We think (the) decision to proceed with no permitting is an abomination and gross misinterpretation of the Clean Water Act."

Theo Whitcomb is an editorial intern at High Country News. Email him a [email protected] or submit a letter to the editorSee our letters to the editor policy.

High Country News Classifieds
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE: NEAR CHRICAHUA NATIONAL PARK
    2 (20 acre sites): 110 miles from Tucson:AZ Native trees: Birder's heaven: dark skies: Creek: borders State lease & National forest: /13-16 inches of rain...
  • DIRECTOR - SONORAN DESERT INN & CONFERENCE CENTER
    The Sonoran Desert Inn & Conference Center is a non-profit lodging and event venue in Ajo, Arizona, located on the historic Curley School Campus. We...
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Field Seminars for adults: cultural and natural history of the Colorado Plateau. With guest experts, local insights, small groups, and lodge or base camp formats....
  • PLANNED GIVING OFFICER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks a Planned Giving Officer. Do you find energy in...
  • DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    The Methow Valley Citizens Council has a distinguished history of advocating for progressive land use and environmental values in the Methow Valley and Okanogan County...
  • ACTING INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS DESK EDITOR
    High Country News is seeking an Acting Indigenous Affairs Editor to oversee the work of our award-winning Indigenous Affairs Desk while our editor is on...
  • GRANTS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    The Cinnabar Foundation seeks an enthusiastic, team-oriented and knowledgeable Grants Program Director to work from their home in Montana. Established in 1983, the Cinnabar Foundation...
  • ARTEMIS PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Artemis Program Manager will work with National Wildlife Federation sporting and public lands staff to change this dynamic, continue to build upon our successful...
  • ALASKA SEA KAYAK BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Well-known and successful sea kayak, raft, hike, camp guiding & water taxi service. Sale includes everything needed to run the business, including office & gear...
  • MEMBERSHIP AND EVENTS PROGRAM COORDINATOR
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a detail-oriented and enthusiastic Membership and Events Coordinator to join our small, but mighty-fun team to oversee our membership...
  • PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT FACILITATOR
    ABOUT THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM Since opening in 1982, HIGH DESERT MUSEUM has brought together wildlife, culture, art and natural resources to promote an understanding...
  • LAND STEWARD, ARAVAIPA
    Steward will live on-site in housing provided by TNC and maintains preserve areas frequented by the visiting public and performs land management activities. The Land...
  • DEVELOPMENT WRITER
    Who We Are: The Nature Conservancy's mission is to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we create...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Driggs, ID based non-profit. Full time. Full job description available at tvtap.org. Submit cover letter and resume to [email protected]
  • ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSTRUCTION GEOPHYSICS
    - We find groundwater, buried debris and assist with new construction projects for a fraction of drilling costs.
  • SPRING MOUNTAINS SOLAR OFF GRID MOUNTAIN HOME
    Located 50 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada in the pine forest of Lee Canyon at 8000 feet elevation. One of a kind property surrounded...
  • MAJOR GIFTS MANAGER - MOUNTAIN WEST, THE CONSERVATION FUND
    Cultivate, solicit and steward a portfolio of 75-125 donors.
  • NATURE'S BEST IN ARAVAIPA CANYON
    10 acre private oasis in one of Arizona's beautiful canyons. Fully furnished, 2123 sq ft architectural custom-built contemporary home with spectacular views and many extras....
  • HEALTH FOOD STORE IN NW MONTANA
    Turn-key business includes 2500 sq ft commercial building in main business district of Libby, Montana. 406.293.6771 /or [email protected]
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.