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Appeals court upholds previous ruling overturning Forest Service's permit approval for southern Arizona copper mine

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An appeals court Thursday upheld a judge’s ruling overturning a federal agency’s approval of a Toronto-based company’s plan for a new open-pit copper mine in southeastern Arizona.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of a permit for the Rosemont Mine in a valley on the eastern flank of the Santa Rita Mountains went beyond what is allowed under a federal mining law.

The court cited the planned use of national forest land for long-term storage of waste rock and the lack of valuable minerals on the property.

Hudbay Mineral Inc. didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Conservationists hailed the ruling.