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Judge blocks Arizona copper mine project in national forest

Posted at 7:00 AM, Aug 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-01 10:00:51-04

PHOENIX (AP) — A federal judge has overturned the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of a Canadian company’s planned new copper mine in southeastern Arizona.

The judge ruled the agency improperly evaluated and considered water use issues associated with the Rosemont Mine planned in the Santa Rita Mountains on part of the Coronado National Forest.

Conservation groups that challenged the project hailed Soto’s ruling, saying it recognized that the Forest Service failed to protect public land and resources.

Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. said Thursday that the ruling blocks construction of the project southeast of Tucson.

The company said U.S. District Judge James A. Soto misinterpreted federal mining laws and Forest Service regulations and that it will appeal his ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.