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Asarco LLC

Leadville, CO: (Aug-29-07) The US Environmental Protection Agency, that state of Colorado, and other parties filed suit against Tucson-based Asarco LLC, alleging that the company's century-old mining operations in Leadville violated federal environmental norms.

In a settlement reached, Asarco agreed to pay $27.3 million to settle more than $200 million worth of environmental claims stemming from the company's operations. The settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency, Colorado and other parties has been approved by the US Bankruptcy Court in Corpus Christi, Texas, where Asarco's two-year-old Chapter 11 bankruptcy case is being heard.

Asarco has about 3,000 Arizona employees and is the state's third-largest mine owner, behind Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. and Southern Copper Corp. The company has three operating mines and a smelter in Arizona that are producing huge profits because of prolonged high copper prices. The profits are the basis for cash to be used to settle the claims. The agreement sets the stage for the eventual settlement of as much as $11 billion worth of environmental claims that have been filed against the Arizona copper producer. The claims, including $2.6 billion from employees of a former asbestos plant, contributed to the company's decision to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. [ARIZONIA REPUBLIC: COPPER POLLUTION]

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Published on Aug-30-07


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