Texas may rule on Asarco copper smelter in August
MEXICO CITY, June 22 (Reuters) - Texas could give U.S. copper miner Asarco the green light to restart its mothballed El Paso copper smelter any time from August onward, state environmental authorities said on Friday.
Andrea Morrow, spokeswoman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, said no date was set for the hearing.
"The earliest it could be scheduled is August and the commision can grant the permit, deny the permit, or do something else," she said by telephone.
Reopening the 150,000 short ton per year smelter, built in the 19th century and closed amid low copper prices in 1999, would be an important financial boost for bankrupt Asarco, owned by Mexico City-based Grupo Mexico (GMEXICOB.MX: Quote, Profile, Research).
But a vocal lobby that includes environmental groups, some local officials and U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes oppose the smelter because of worries about air quality....