TORONTO, Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Augusta Resource Corporation (TSX: AZC) (NYSE MKT: AZC) ("Augusta" or "Company") comments on the Save the Scenic Santa Rita's (SSSR), a local project opponent, inaccurate press release, which makes inappropriate comments and distorted interpretations in relation to a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) letter issued to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) on November 7, 2013.
"The SSSR press release today was not only inaccurate but another attempt to harm our company," said Gil Clausen, Augusta's president and CEO. "This group has historically mischaracterized the level of impact that letters between agencies have and obviously do not understand the permitting or the evaluation process. SSSR totally misrepresents the contents of the letter and the EPA's comments actually said that they were looking forward to working with the Army Corps on mitigation and risk based assessments. For example, nowhere in the EPA's letter did they discuss discharges as 'toxic mine wastes'. The SSSR is fabricating information and attributing that information to EPA in an effort to scare our shareholders and disrupt markets."
The Company states the EPA has been working diligently with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and other Federal Agencies to finalize the work required to complete the permitting process. The EPA letter refers to old plans and issues which were the basis of discussion and not decision. The ACOE will make their decisions based on facts, rules and regulations as they continue to maintain good dialog with the EPA.
The final EIS has integrated five years of science based technical studies and analysis and is due out next week, and the printed version of the draft Record of Decision (ROD) from the USFS is expected to be issued mid-December after the documents are printed. When these two printed documents are released, the EPA will be able to work with other agencies and with Rosemont to finalize mitigation planning and to assure compliance with all regulations and permit conditions regarding the 404 Permit issued under the Clean Water Act.
Additionally the references to scientific flaws are from a letter written almost a year ago and acknowledged that the assessment methods were what was prescribed by the ACOE and references a mitigation plan that is out of date and not currently in use. The EPA does not determine appropriate mitigations, this is the ACOE's responsibility.
Rosemont has developed a comprehensive environmental, social and cultural mitigation program with detailed monitoring and reporting protocols to address the concerns and requirements of numerous agency and permit requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act 404 processes.
This mitigation program addresses, and goes well beyond, the EPA's comments on the approximately 65 acres of direct and indirect impacts to dry washes and waters of the US that are under review by the Army Corp of Engineers for the 404 jurisdictional mitigation.
Rosemont will continue working with all of the regulatory agencies as the thorough permit review process comes to conclusion in early 2014.
Mr. Clausen added, "Rosemont has been working closely with the Federal Agencies for the past five years to ensure the appropriate mitigations are developed to address impacts. Throughout that time, the SSSR has consistently and purposely misrepresented the company's intentions, the facts and the NEPA process. They have deliberately worked to undermine the obligations and work of the Agencies involved."
Augusta is a base metals company focused on advancing the Rosemont Copper deposit near Tucson, Arizona. Rosemont hosts a large copper/molybdenum reserve that would account for about 10% of US copper output once in production (for details refer to www.augustaresource.com). The exceptional experience and strength of Augusta's management team, combined with the developed infrastructure and robust economics of the Rosemont project, propels Augusta to becoming a solid mid-tier copper producer. The Company trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the NYSE MKT under the symbol AZC.
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SOURCE Augusta Resource Corporation