Justice Department rolls back timeline on Oak Flat mine environmental analysis

Published: Tuesday, May 30, 2023 - 3:52pm
Updated: Tuesday, May 30, 2023 - 5:52pm

Conservationists have filed multiple lawsuits against a proposed copper mine in the Oak Flat area of Tonto National Forest.

At a recent hearing in federal court, government attorneys said they were about to re-issue an environmental analysis, but they have moved back that timeline.

An Australian mining company must acquire nearly 2,500 acres from the Forest Service before the mine can go into production.

An Environmental Impact Statement on the project was supposed to trigger a land swap, but the report was published during the Trump administration and later withdrawn by the Biden administration.

A government attorney told the appeals court it could be republished in the spring or early summer. But the Department of Justice said recently in a letter to the court that the government has not yet set a timeline for completing the study.