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KNAU and Arizona News

Judge Denies Oak Flat Injuction, Paving Way For Mining Company Purchase

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KNAU
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A federal judge has refused to stop a land swap that would allow a copper mining company to purchase the Oak Flat area near the town of Superior.

The coalition Apache Stronghold sued the U.S. forest service earlier this year to stop the Rio Tinto mining company from purchasing the land, considered a sacred site by the San Carlos Apache tribe. Former Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake wrote the purchase into a 2014 defense spending bill. Apache Stronghold president Dr. Wendsler Nosie said he was disappointed with the judge’s decision, but plans to appeal the case to a higher court.  Nosie has compared the sale of the land parcel to that of Mount Sinai in its sacred status among Indigenous people. The Tonto National Forest says it will not comment on litigation.