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Tribes, Environmentalists Battle Copper Mine In Arizona

SONOITA, Ariz. (AP) — Native American tribes and environmental groups are fighting to stop a Canadian firm from opening a copper mine in southeastern Arizona, arguing it could desecrate sacred, ancestral lands and pollute the air and water.

Opponents of the Rosemont Mine say they worry the project will dry up wells and waterways while ravaging habitat for endangered jaguar and other species. They have asked a federal judge in Tucson for an emergency order to prevent the project from proceeding while the merits of their lawsuits against the mining company are decided.

Preliminary work is set to start this summer.

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Supporters say the project will immediately create 500 jobs and pour $16 billion into the local economy over 20 years.

The fight comes amid a larger battle across the West over using public lands for mining.