Tribal request to halt Arizona copper mine work is denied

May 27, 2022, 12:58 AM | Updated: 1:19 pm
Switchbacks for roads cut through three ridges in the area being worked for Hudbay Minerals Inc. in...

Switchbacks for roads cut through three ridges in the area being worked for Hudbay Minerals Inc. in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson, Ariz., Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. A federal judge has rejected a request by opponents to stop Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. from preparing a planned new copper mine's site in the Santa Rita Mountains near Tucson.(Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

(Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A federal judge has rejected a request by Native American tribes to stop Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. from preparing a planned new Arizona copper mine’s site in the Santa Rita Mountains near Tucson.

U.S. District Judge James Soto refused to issue a temporary restraining order and dismissed the lawsuit filed by the Tohono O’odham, Pasqua Yaqui and Hopi tribes and the group Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

Soto’s ruling Monday said Hudbay’s surrender of a suspended Clean Water Act Permit for a nearby project named the Rosemont Mine removed the lawsuit’s legal basis because the projects were not legally related.

The company pivoted to the Copper World project on private land on the Santa Ritas’ western slopes after the Rosemont Mine ran into legal obstacles related to its location largely on public land.

Hudbay maintains that the Copper World site on private land doesn’t include stream beds, which are mostly dry except when it rains, that are subject to Clean Water Act authority.

Stu Gillespie, an attorney for the tribes, said Soto’s ruling was disappointing because it “allows Rosemont to evade the regulatory process and bedrock environmental laws.”

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Tribal request to halt Arizona copper mine work is denied