Hudbay vows appeal after court affirms Arizona project ruling

(Reuters) - Hudbay Minerals on Tuesday vowed to appeal a court ruling that barred the Canadian miner from building a major copper mine in the United States after losing its bid to have a judge revisit the decision.

U.S. District Judge James Soto late on Monday said there was no basis to reconsider an earlier ruling that overturned approvals for the company’s contentious Rosemont project in southeastern Arizona, delivering a setback for Hudbay as it seeks to revive plans for the stalled $1.9 billion open-pit mine.

Hudbay’s director of investor relations, Candace Brule, said the company was disappointed with the decision and would proceed with an appeal as it studies next steps for the project.

“This ruling confirms that the court continues to misinterpret decades of precedent and the federal regulations and mining laws that govern the Rosemont project,” she said.

At issue is the validity of mining claims that would allow the company to dispose of mine waste on public lands adjacent to its operations.

The U.S. District Court for Arizona in July overturned approvals issued by the U.S. Forest Service for the mine, siding with environmental and tribal groups opposed to the plan.

Hudbay in August said it would appeal that ruling but it first asked the court to reconsider the decision on grounds it overstepped its authority.

However, Soto said there was no basis to reopen the case, according to a copy of the decision seen by Reuters. “Mere disagreement with a previous order is an insufficient basis for reconsideration,” the judge wrote.

Hudbay had planned to start construction of Rosemont by the end of this year, with first production expected by the end of 2022.

Reporting by Jeff Lewis; Editing by Leslie Adler