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For Immediate Release, June 24, 2010

Contact: Tierra Curry, Center for Biological Diversity, (928) 522-3681

Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for Two Snail Species
Threatened by Proposed Rosemont Copper Mine

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity today filed an Endangered Species Act listing petition seeking protection for two species of talus snails that are threatened by the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine in the Santa Rita Mountains, 30 miles southeast of Tucson. The proposed mine would be an open pit more than one mile wide and more than half a mile deep that would destroy at least 4,400 acres of habitat, including more than 3,300 acres of public land on the Coronado National Forest, where the mining waste would be dumped.

“The Rosemont Mine threatens the survival of these two rare Arizona snails,” said Tierra Curry, a biologist at the Center. “The two snails need immediate protection under the Endangered Species Act to have any chance at survival.”

The Rosemont talus snail is only found in the Rosemont area, meaning the proposed mine could cause its extinction. The Sonoran talus snail is found in the Rosemont area, in the Tumacacori Mountains, where it is threatened by smuggling and Border Patrol activities, and in the San Cayetano Mountains near Rio Rico, where it is threatened by real-estate development. In addition to the petitioned species, the mine would destroy habitat for several already listed endangered species, including the Chiricahua leopard frog, lesser long-nosed bat and jaguar.

“The Rosemont Mine is a disaster waiting to happen that will permanently destroy public land crucial to Arizona wildlife, clean water, tourism and recreation,” said Curry. 

The mine would lower the regional water table and would cause water, air and noise pollution. It is opposed by Pima and Santa Cruz counties, local municipalities, state and federal legislators, and local residents. A study by the Sonoran Institute found that if the mine displaced even one percent of travel and tourism-related spending in the area, the economic loss would be greater than the mine’s entire annual payroll. The mine is proposed by the Rosemont Copper Company, a subsidiary of Augusta Resource Corporation, which has no revenue from operations and has been operating at a financial loss for years.


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