The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality will soon begin taking comments on a permit for a new copper mine south of Tucson.
Department director Ursula Kramer tells the Arizona Daily Star a final decision on the permit apparently is a ways off.
This is one of the key permits the mine needs to start operating.
Kramer says she believes she has no choice legally but to propose issuing the permit given the information submitted to her office and the nature of laws and rules governing air quality permits.
Kramer says that stance could change after she sees the public comments on the proposed permit and after she gets input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Rosemont Copper hopes to start constructing the open-pit mine in the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson by 2012.