TUCSON (KVOA) - Hudbay Minerals, the owners of the Rosemont Mine, are doing exploratory drilling on the western slopes of the Santa Ritas. But with the Rosemont project currently halted, it has environmentalists asking why are they even drilling?
Over a year ago, a ruling stopped Hudbay Minerals from mining at the Rosemont deposit. The company has taken the opportunity to look at other parts of the land they own there to see if there are more ore deposits.
Meanwhile, the Center for Biological Diversity wants to do what they can to stop the destruction of natural habitats.
"The Rosemont Mine would be a real disaster for southern Arizona, they would pump a huge amount of ground water out from under this site in the Santa Ritas," said Randy Serraglio, Southwest Conservation Activist for the Center for Biological Diversity.
According to Serraglio, the water they would be pumping is responsible for 20 percent of the natural water that goes into the Tucson basin each year.
Hudbay has dealt with significant opposition from community stake holders against any further mining projects, but in a statement from Hudbay they say:
"Hudbay is fully committed to building and operating the Rosemont project once the appeal process has been completed. Before we can make any announcements on future plans for operations we must determine if it is economically feasible to extract minerals from these exploration sites. First we need to understand what is on our property before we speculate on optimization scenarios."
Serraglio believes the mine is fighting a losing battle and that the community has already told the mine no.
"We're gonna fight this mine as long as it takes, we're not gonna let this company ruin Tucson's water supply that drives our economy and supports our quality of life in southern Arizona," said Serraglio.
For now, it's waiting. Hudbay says that they have a clear understanding of the concerns within the community and their intentions are to keep stakeholders informed.