Hudbay Minerals Inc. ("Hudbay" or the "company") ( TSX, NYSE: HBM) and the U.S. Department of Justice today received a split decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (the "Decision"), which affirmed the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona's ("District Court") decision in July 2019 relating to the Rosemont copper project in Arizona. In the Decision, the Court of Appeals agreed with the District Court's ruling that the U.S. Forest Service relied on incorrect assumptions regarding its legal authority and the validity of Rosemont's unpatented mining claims in the issuance of Rosemont's Final Environmental Impact Statement. While Hudbay reviews the Decision, in any event, the company will continue to pursue its alternative plan to advance its Copper World project.
Since 2019, Hudbay has successfully discovered the Copper World deposits located on patented mining claims adjacent to Rosemont. The company has also acquired a private land package totaling approximately 4,500 acres to support an operation on private lands. The initial technical studies for Copper World have been completed and the results are being incorporated into a Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") contemplating the development of the Copper World deposits in conjunction with an alternative plan for the Rosemont deposit. The PEA is expected to incorporate a two-phase mine plan with the first phase reflecting a standalone operation utilizing Hudbay's private land for processing infrastructure and contemplating mining portions of Copper World and Rosemont located on patented mining claims. The first phase is expected to require only state and local permits and is expected to reflect an approximate 15-year mine life. The second phase of the mine plan is expected to extend the mine life and incorporate an expansion onto federal lands to mine the entire Rosemont and Copper World deposits. The second phase of the mine plan would be subject to the federal permitting process and the company expects it will be able to pursue the federal permits within the constraints imposed by the Decision, if any subsequent appeals are not successful. Hudbay expects the PEA to demonstrate positive economics for this low-cost, long-life copper project and the company is on track to publish the results in a NI 43-101 Technical Report in the second quarter of 2022.