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US Judge Blocks Canadian Company's Mine Project in Southern Arizona

A federal judge has overturned the U.S. Forest Service's approval of a Canadian company's proposed copper mine in southeastern Arizona, ruling that the agency improperly evaluated and considered water use issues associated with the Rosemont Mine.

Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. said Thursday the ruling blocks construction of the project in the Santa Rita Mountains on part of the Coronado National Forest southeast of Tucson. The company said U.S. District Judge James A. Soto in Tucson misinterpreted federal mining laws and Forest Service regulations and that it will appeal his ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Conservation groups that challenged the project hailed Soto's ruling, saying it recognized that the Forest Service failed to protect public land and resources. They claim it will destroy the landscape and habitat for rare animals including Jaguars that live in the Santa Rita Mountain Range southeast of Tucson.

Legal experts anticipate the judge’s ruling will eventually be appealed by the mining company.