USA: Indigenous communities challenge copper mine construction in lawsuit alleging violation of their cultural & religious rights

Author: Tony Davis, Arizona Daily Star (USA), Published on: 16 April 2018

"Tribes sue feds over Rosemont Mine, citing 'irreversible' damage to sacred sites", 14 Apr 2018

...The lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service says the mine would deprive tribal members of access to ancestral praying grounds, destroy a critical part of their heritage including burial grounds and stop members from engaging in important cultural practices and religious traditions.  The Tohono O’odham, Pascua Yaqui and Hopi tribes filed the suit Thursday in U.S. District Court, about 10 months after the Forest Service approved the $1.9 billion mine project.  It’s the third suit facing the mine.  The others...allege the open-pit copper mine will violate environmental laws including the federal Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act...Hudbay Minerals, the Canadian company that proposes to build the country’s third largest copper mine...didn’t respond to a request from the Star to comment on the suit.  The Forest Service...consulted with 13 tribes and signed an agreement with the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office detailing a mitigation strategy...All the tribes refused to sign the agreement...[F]ederal historic preservation law doesn’t protect these resources if the government properly consults with affected tribes...Mine construction...would directly affect 85 historic and prehistoric sites...“Archaeological sites and cultural landscapes cannot be reconstructed once they have been destroyed or altered,” the federal report said...Villages and graves of ancestors and traditional resource gathering areas would also be destroyed, the report said...

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Related companies: Hudbay Minerals