DENVER , COLORADO--(CCNMatthews - June 26, 2006) - Augusta Resource Corporation ("Augusta") (TSX VENTURE:ARS) announced today that it has signed two contracts (the "Contracts") with the Central Arizona Water Conservation District ("CAWCD"). One Contract allows Augusta to become a water user in the CAWCD system; Augusta can request up to 10,000 acre-feet of water per year for the five-year term of the Contract. The other Contract allows Augusta to store the water in the Pima Mine Storage and Retrieval Facility in Pima County, Arizona. The pre-stored water will accumulate in a water-bank account to offset groundwater removed from the aquifer once mine operations begin on the Rosemont property. The planned mine operations at Rosemont will incorporate water-miser design principles and are expected to use 5,000 acre-feet per year or less.
"These contracts are significant for three reasons," says Augusta Vice President for Projects and Environment, Jamie Sturgess. " Augusta's water supply plan is sustainable within the Tucson aquifer, provides minimal impact environmentally and fits with our design principles for the project." Mr. Sturgess adds: "We are also happy to have addressed the water supply question ahead of the Environmental Impact Statement Review process, which removes a significant amount of uncertainty regarding project impacts to the region. Augusta will continue to avoid, minimize, or mitigate anticipated project impacts wherever possible so that Rosemont will be a model for responsible copper mine development."
The initial 5-year contract term (the standard CAWCD contract term) may be renewed in the future, and Augusta can also seek additional water amounts to be pre-stored into the aquifer at other storage and retrieval facilities within the basin.
ADWR Annoucement that storage space is no longer available at Pima Mine Road, so Augusta will be recharging in Marana Groundwater Savings Facility.