Apache Stronghold Sues USDA Over Rio Tinto Mining Project

Law360 (January 13, 2021, 8:27 PM EST) -- Apache Stronghold, a San Carlos Apache nonprofit, has sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Arizona federal court to block a land swap that would allow Rio Tinto PLC and BHP Billiton to mine copper and allegedly dump toxic waste near land sacred to the Apache tribe.

The nonprofit's Tuesday complaint said the land swap for the companies' joint project, Resolution Copper, was a pointed effort to "illegally annihilate" religious freedom of the Western Apache people at their sacred land Chi'chil Biłdagoteel, also known as Oak Flat.

"This is a gravely serious and urgent matter of the religious freedom rights, the treaty...

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