TORONTO, May 22, 2014 /CNW/ - Augusta Resource Corporation (TSX and NYSE MKT: AZC) ("Augusta" or the "Company") provides a permitting update on its Rosemont Copper project located in Arizona, USA.
The Company has become aware of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (US FWS) letter that was submitted to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) summarizing their rationale for re-initiation of consultation, which includes the recent sighting of an ocelot in the general study area. The animal was photographed by a remote camera some distance south of the project site. The USFS is currently evaluating the issues raised in the letter and, as the action agency, will decide whether further consultation is necessary.
The USFS has commented informally that it may not be in a position to issue the final Record of Decision (ROD) by the end of the second quarter of 2014. However, until the USFS determines whether consultation with the US FWS must be re-initiated and publishes the definitive ROD schedule, expected by the end of May, it is uncertain when the ROD will be issued. The Company believes that the ROD may be delayed until the third quarter of 2014.
The mandated time frame for consultation under the Endangered Species Act is 135 days. However, consultation has been completed and a detailed Biological Opinion has been issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Therefore, if consultation is reinitiated, Augusta expects this process to be completed within a shorter time period, as the issues that would need to be addressed are limited and much of the analysis has already been completed.
The recent ocelot sighting validates the conclusions of the Rosemont environmental studies, including the Biological Opinion and the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), that ocelots likely occur in the Santa Rita Mountains near the project area. A detailed analysis of the project's effects on the ocelot has already been completed in the Biological Opinion. Parts of the conservation measures pledged by Rosemont include surveys, studies, reporting requirements and other mitigation measures for the ocelot as well as other wildlife species found in the region.
Commented Gil Clausen, Augusta's president and CEO, "While we are disappointed with any delay, our expectation is that these final issues will be handled in a timely, expeditious manner."
Augusta is a base metals company focused on advancing the Rosemont Copper deposit near Tucson, Arizona. Rosemont hosts a large copper/molybdenum reserve that would account for about 10% of U.S. copper output once in production (for details refer to www.augustaresource.com). The exceptional experience and strength of Augusta's management team, combined with the developed infrastructure and robust economics of the Rosemont project, propels Augusta to becoming a solid mid-tier copper producer. Augusta's shares are listed and posted for trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the NYSE MKT under the symbol AZC.
Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward Looking Information
Certain of the statements made and the information contained in this news release constitutes "forward-looking statements" under United States federal securities laws or "forward-looking information" under Canadian securities laws. These statements and information relate to future events and Augusta's future performance, business prospects or opportunities, including information concerning the unsolicited offer of HudBay and the strategic review process of Augusta, which are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Such forward-looking statements and forward-looking information include, but are not limited to statements concerning Augusta's plans at the Rosemont project, including the timing for obtaining final permits, construction and estimated production, expectations surrounding future financings and refinancings, capital and operating cash flow estimates, changes in market conditions, changes or disruptions in the securities markets and market fluctuations in the prices for Augusta's securities, the lack of any alternative transactions or the terms and conditions of any alternative transactions not being acceptable.
Forward-looking statements or information is frequently, but not always, characterized by words such as "will", "plan", "expect", "project", "intend", "believe", "anticipate", "budget", "forecast", "schedule", "estimate" and similar expressions, or statements that certain events or conditions "may", "should", "could", "might" or "will" occur. The forward-looking statements or information contained in this news release is based on the reasonable expectations and beliefs of management and involves numerous assumptions, known and unknown risks and uncertainties, both general and specific to Augusta and the industry in which the Company operates. Such assumptions, risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to Augusta's history of losses, requirements for additional capital, dilution, loss of material properties, interest rate increases, global economy, no history of production, speculative nature of exploration activities, periodic interruptions to exploration, development and mining activities, environmental hazards and liability, industrial accidents, failure of processing and mining equipment, labour disputes, supply problems, commodity price fluctuations, uncertainty of production and cost estimates, the interpretation of drill results and the estimation of mineral resources and reserves, legal and regulatory proceedings and community actions, title and tenure matters, regulatory restrictions, permitting and licensing, volatility of the market price of the Company's common shares, insurance, competition, hedging activities, currency fluctuations, loss of key employees, as well as those factors disclosed in Augusta's documents filed from time to time with the securities regulators in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador. Should one or more of these risks and uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results, performance or achievements of the Company, or industry results, may vary materially from those described in this presentation. For further details, reference is made to the risk factors discussed or referred to in Augusta's annual and interim management's discussion and analyses and Annual Information Form on file with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities and available under Augusta's issuer profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Although Augusta has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events, results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements or information contained in this news release, there may be other factors that cause actions, events, results, performance or achievements not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements or information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Such forward-looking statements and information are made or given as at the date of this news release and Augusta disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements or information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under applicable securities law. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements or information.
SOURCE: Augusta Resource Corporation
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