Hudbay Receives Favorable Ruling on Copper World

The U.S. district court for the District of Arizona ruled in favor of Hudbay Minerals Inc.ís Copper World project in Arizona. The District Court ruled that Copper World and Rosemont are not connected under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and, therefore, that the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) does not have an obligation to include Copper World as part of its NEPA review of Rosemont. The District Court also granted Hudbayís motion to dismiss the Copper World preliminary injunction request filed by the plaintiffs in the two lawsuits challenging the Section 404 Clean Water Act permit for Rosemont on the basis that the lawsuits are moot after the company surrendered its 404 permit back to the Corps in April.

The Corps has never determined that there are jurisdictional waters of the U.S. on the Copper World site and Hudbay has independently concluded through its own scientific analysis that there are no such waters in the area. In April, the company commenced early site works at Copper World with initial grading and clearing activities continuing at site. The company also continues exploration and technical work at site with seven drill rigs conducting infill drilling and supporting future feasibility studies.

Hudbay continues to be on track to complete a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) of Copper World in the second quarter of 2022. The PEA will incorporate a two-phase mine plan with the first phase reflecting a standalone operation with processing infrastructure on Hudbayís private land and mining occurring on portions of the deposits located on patented mining claims. The first phase is expected to require only state and local permits and is expected to reflect an approximate 15- year mine life. The second phase of the mine plan is expected to extend the mine life and incorporate an expansion onto federal lands to mine the entire Rosemont and Copper World deposits. The second phase would be subject to the federal permitting process. The company believes the District Courtís decision, together with the May 12 decision from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, clarifies the permitting path for Copper World, including the requirements to receive federal permits for the second phase under existing mining regulations. Hudbay expects the PEA to demonstrate robust economics for this low-cost, long-life copper project, delivering the copper needed for domestic supply chains while offering many benefits to the community and local economy in Arizona.

Also, Hudbay Minerals and the U.S. Department of Justice received a split decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizonaís July 2019 decision relating to the Rosemont copper project in Arizona. The court of appeals agreed with the district courtís ruling that the U.S. Forest Service relied on incorrect assumptions regarding its legal authority and the validity of Rosemontís unpatented mining claims when it issued Rosemontís Final Environmental Impact Statement.

Since 2019, Hudbay discovered the Copper World deposits located on patented mining claims adjacent to Rosemont. The company has also acquired a private land package totaling approximately 4,500 acres to support an operation on private lands. The initial technical studies for Copper World have been completed and the results are being incorporated into a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) contemplating the development of the Copper World deposits in conjunction with an alternative plan for the Rosemont deposit.

As featured in Womp 2022 Vol 06 -