By Tony Davis
Arizona Daily Star
Pima County plans to drop its appeal of an April decision by the state’s environmental agency approving a groundwater pollution prevention permit for the proposed Rosemont Mine.
In a rare moment of harmony on the mine issue, the county, Rosemont Copper and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality have submitted a proposed settlement of the appeal to the state Water Quality Appeals Board, which was to have decided on the appeal.
While this settlement represents one less hurdle for the long-delayed, $1.2 billion mine project, the company isn’t home free yet on its Aquifer Protection Permit from the state. Here’s why:
• Because the Forest Service is proposing a different alternative for the mine layout than what Rosemont Copper had submitted to the state agency, it’s possible or likely the company will need a new permit from the state if that alternative – known as the Barrel Alternative – is ultimately approved by the service, ADEQ spokesman Mark Shaffer said this week.
“A new permit would be needed on that or any other changes on Rosemont’s part,” Shaffer said.
• The leading mine opposition group, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, is continuing its appeal of the permit. An administrative law judge is holding hearings on that appeal in Phoenix this week.