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Complaint Claims Felony Filing Violations by Southern AZ Copper Company

March 30, 2012

PHOENIX – The long-delayed plans for a large open-pit copper mine southwest of Tucson hit another potential snag Thursday with the filing of a formal complaint with the Arizona Corporation Commission. It alleges that Rosemont Copper Company illegally concealed the involvement of two directors in a previous corporate bankruptcy.

Attorney Vince Rabago represents the opposition group Save the Scenic Santa Ritas. He says such disclosures are required by Arizona law.

"It is a felony offense to knowingly submit false filings to the Arizona Corporation Commission. And so, what we have here is a pattern of deception that began with the incorporation of Rosemont Copper back in 2005, and has continued for seven consecutive years."

Rabago says possible penalties include dissolution of the company by the state, in addition to criminal prosecution. In a written statement, Rosemont CEO Rod Pace calls the accusations "trumped-up, repackaged and frivolous." The company says the proposed mine would create more than 2,000 jobs and boost the local economy by $700 million a year.

The alleged filing discrepancies affect the larger debate over the proposed mine, says Rabago, throwing doubt on company claims about the potential economic and environmental impacts.

"Rosemont Copper has been on an aggressive P.R. campaign with the express promise that it was going to be a good corporate citizen. And when they can't even tell the truth to the Corporation Commission, which regulates corporate citizens, we have serious concerns about the credibility of everything that they are stating."

The company hopes to start construction on the mine later this year or in 2013.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ