NEW YORK Augusta Resource
Corp. said it has successfully appealed the rejected air permit
application for its proposed Rosemont copper project.
The Arizona Supreme Court for
Pima County ruled that county boards had "acted in an arbitrary
and capricious manner" and "abused their discretion" when they
originally denied the permit application, according to the July
5 ruling. The Pima County Air Quality Control District had
rejected the application on grounds that it was "incomplete"
but did not allow Augusta to address the alleged issues, Kathy
Arnold, Augustas vice president of environmental and
regulatory affairs, told AMM.
"The county has ordinances that
were more than happy to fulfill; we just have to be clear
on what they are," she said.
As a result of last weeks
ruling, the company can now revise the permit application and
resubmit it to the county boards and regulators, which are
court-obligated to process it in a timely manner, the company
said in a statement.
Executives from Augusta will be
meeting with county regulators this week to clarify the
situation and plan going forward, Arnold said.
The company also has an air
permit application pending with the Arizona Department of
Environmental Quality. Its unclear whether the project
needs both state and county air permits. Arnold said, noting
that the company is hedging its bets and pursuing both.
"Its very complicated
legally, and were still not sure which permit we actually
need," Arnold told AMM.
Arnold said Augusta remains on
track to break ground in the spring of next year and begin
production in 2014.
Augusta bought the property in
2006 and submitted the first official mine plan to begin the
environmental approval process in July 2007, Arnold said. The
Rosemont deposit has reserves of 5.2 billion pounds of copper
and 161 million pounds of molybdenum, according to company