Court Dismisses Town’s Attempt to Take Private Property

Court Dismisses Town's Attempt to Take Private Property

The News

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Art Anderson has dismissed an attempt by the Town of Florence, Arizona to take nearly 1,200 acres of private property away from Florence Copper Inc.

The decision is the latest in a series of legal victories for Florence Copper which continues to successfully defend itself against a variety of legal actions taken against it by the Town of Florence.

Florence Copper’s legal successes indicate that the Town’s opposition to the project is not supported by the law.

The Opportunity Ahead

The Town acknowledges its obligation and desire to encourage the creation of jobs and investment for the benefit of its citizens. The Florence Copper Project offers that opportunity and benefit, and it does so without the environmental impacts normally associated with traditional mining methods.

Rather than continue to wage expensive legal battles against the project, the right and reasonable thing for the Town to do is take a fact-based position on the project. Proceeding with a Production Test Facility will deliver those facts. Only after the safety of the project is proven will the state and federal agencies charged with safeguarding the public’s drinking water supplies permit the project to move to full production.


The court ruling stems from a lawsuit initiated by the Town against Florence Copper Inc. in October 2013.

Florence Copper Inc. intends to conduct copper-recovery operations on its property (and on adjacent State Trust Land, pursuant to a mining lease), in accordance with its position that mining is a legal nonconforming use of its land within the Town of Florence.

The Town sought to stop the operation from proceeding by asserting an “eminent domain claim” over the property. However, the court agreed with Florence Copper’s argument that the Town lacks the legal grounds to expropriate the company’s property and thus, the eminent domain claim should be dismissed.

The Town is also seeking a court ruling that mining on the company’s private property is not a legal nonconforming use. If they fail on that argument they could once again initiate a claim for eminent domain, although it is unlikely that they would be successful. Moreover, before the Town may take the property by eminent domain, it must first pay Florence Copper its fair market value.

A Series of Legal Defense Victories for Florence Copper

The superior court’s ruling is the latest in a series of legal successes for Florence Copper as they defend themselves against the Town’s legal tactics intended to stop the Florence Copper Project from moving forward.
  • In April 2012, the Town unsuccessfully sought to condemn the company’s administrative offices on health and safety grounds. After Florence Copper filed for injunctive relief, the Town agreed that Florence Copper’s employees could return to their offices and paid the company $100,000 in damages as a result of the Town’s action.
  • In August 2012, the Town passed an ordinance prohibiting the use of 50 gallons or more of sulfuric acid within Town limits for any purpose besides agricultural use. The Town subsequently withdrew the ordinance after Florence Copper filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop its enforcement.
  • In a third legal action, the Town joined with Johnson Utilities and two other private parties to prevent the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality from issuing an Aquifer Protection Permit for the operation of Florence Copper’s Production Test Facility. That lawsuit was dismissed in 2013 by the court because it lacked sufficient legal grounds. The ruling was upheld on appeal.

Florence Copper’s Administrative Building on Hunt Highway
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