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Mining company to pay $1.3 million in Arizona fines

KINGMAN, Ariz. – Mercator Minerals will pay a $1.3 million fine to resolve numerous air quality violations at its northwest Arizona mining operation about 12 miles north of Kingman. The settlement, which is subject to court approval, was detailed in a Thursday news release issued by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and the Arizona Attorney General’s office.

Arizona authorities said Mercator Minerals didn’t bother with the permitting process when it began construction of its facilities at Mineral Park in April 2007. The operation was discovered in 2009.

“ADEQ inspectors observed several pieces of industrial mining equipment in operation, including copper and molybdenum mills, crushing systems and ore conveyor transport systems,” the news release read. “ADEQ also discovered record-keeping violations, violations of hours of operation limitations, mal­functioning pollution controls and excessive daily use of explosive materials.”

Public information officer Mark Shafer said the violations were remedied and compliance achieved by July 2011.

“Mining companies need to rigorously comply with state standards to protect the environment and health of our citizens,” Attorney General Tom Horne said. “That obviously wasn’t done in this case.”

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