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Sinema co-sponsors mining bill some call workaround after Rosemont Copper decision

Last year, a federal appeals court upheld a ruling that blocked the Rosemont Copper Mine in southern Arizona from moving forward.

But a Nevada senator has introduced legislation to work around the court’s decision. Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is a co-sponsor of the bill.

The ruling said that although the mining law of 1872 gives companies a wide berth when it comes to extracting ore on public lands, it says nothing about using lands adjacent to claims.

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto has introduced legislation that would allow companies to use nearby land for its operations.

Rachael Hamby, of the Center for Western Priorities, said the legislation is a step in the wrong direction.

"I’m concerned about it because not only does it make sure that mining law is kept in the 1800s, it actually takes the law backward, and makes it even more permissive for mining and less protective of our public lands," Hamby said. 

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Ron Dungan was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2024.