Mining firm still committed to open-pit project in Arizona

Canadian firm Hudbay Minerals Inc. plans an open pit copper mine near the eastern slope of the Santa Rita Mountains, but the project is currently in limbo.

TUCSON (AP) — The company that wants to build an open-pit copper mine in southeastern Arizona said it still hopes to prevail after a federal judge’s decision this week to overturn the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s approval of the project.

The proposed $1.9 billion Rosemont Mine has been in legal limbo since July when a ruling by the federal court in Tucson halted construction by Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc.

“While we respect the court’s authority to remand the analysis and findings back to the agencies for further review, Hudbay believes this is unnecessary and remains committed to advancing the project,” a company statement said of U.S. District Judge James A. Soto’s decision Monday.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s southwest regional office in Albuquerque did not immediately return a Tuesday call seeking comment.

Soto in December declined Hudbay’s request to change his earlier ruling overturning the 2017 approval by another agency, the U.S. Forest Service, to build the project southeast of Tucson in the Coronado National Forest.

Lawyers for the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity say federal agencies have failed to protect public land and resources in the Santa Rita mountains that are home to endangered jaguars and cougars, black bears and deer.

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