Mother of deceased Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighter files petition with Arizona Supreme Court

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The mother of Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighter Grant McKee has filed a petition with the Arizona Supreme Court to review lower court decisions that rejected her wrongful death claim in connection with the death of her son during the Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013.

The petition, which was filed by Scottsdale attorney David L. Abney on behalf of Marcia McKee, raises four issues:

  • Whether the City of Prescott legally approved an Intergovernmental Agreement with the state that made McKee and the other 18 Granite Mountain Hotshots who died during the fire temporary state employees and therefore providing the state employer-based immunity from a wrongful death claim.
  • A jury should have been allowed to determine whether the state’s conduct in managing the Yarnell Hill Fire amounted to “willful misconduct” which would have nullified the state’s employer-based immunity protection.
  • Neither Grant McKee, or his mother asked for, nor accepted, any workers’ compensation benefits. Therefore, Marcia McKee did not waive her right to sue the state for causing her son’s wrongful death.
  • Is Marcia McKee entitled to assert claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress arising from the state causing her son to suffer a horrendous death and from the state’s cover-up of its wrongdoing?

A Sardinian gold mine unearths the deceptive business tactics of Rosemont Copper’s former top executives led by Richard Warke

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InvestigativeMEDIA is republishing its 2012 series of stories on the original investors of the Rosemont Copper Mine and their role in a failed Sardinian gold mining project through a Vancouver, B.C. based mining company called Sargold Resource Corp.

One of the original Rosemont investors, Richard Warke, remains a key player in Arizona by seeking permits to develop a massive open-pit silver mine near Patagonia. Warke is now chairman of Arizona Mining Inc., which is seeking state and federal permits to develop the Patagonia mine.

Warke runs an array junior mining companies from Vancouver, B.C. and also serves as Executive Chair of NewCastle Gold Ltd., a company focused on exploring its multi-million ounce gold deposit in California.

These businesses are part of the Augusta Group of Companies, a conglomerate that Warke founded in 2006 comprised of Arizona Mining, NewCastle Gold Ltd. and Armor Minerals.

As detailed below, Warke’s management of Sargold Resources and its Sardinian gold mine raise serious questions. For additional information on Warke’s history of failing to disclose personal and corporate bankruptcies, cease trade orders and stock exchange delistings click here. A video timeline of Warke’s business history is here.

Warke is also featured in InvestigativeMEDIA’s 2012 award-winning documentary Cyanide Beach.

InvestigativeMEDIA’s series of stories on Warke and his business partners including the Sargold investment was later  featured in Global Mining Observer.

Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals Inc. purchased Rosemont Copper when it acquired Augusta Resource Corp. in 2014 in a $550 million stock deal. Warke was Chairman of Augusta Resource at the time of the purchase. Augusta Resource, under Warke’s direction, purchased the Rosemont copper prospect for $20 million in 2006.

Hudbay is now seeking state and federal permits to develop the Rosemont mine. InvestigativeMEDIA released its documentary Flin Flon Flim Flam on Hudbay’s worldwide operations and plans to develop the Rosemont mine in October 2015.

InvestigativeMEDIA’s original 2012 story on Warke’s investment strategy in the Sardinian gold mine through the now defunct Sargold Resource Corp. follows below.

Introduction

Augusta Resource Corporation is seeking government approvals to construct a massive open-pit copper mine and dump waste rock and mine tailings on more than 3,000 acres of the Coronado National Forest in the Santa Rita Mountains 35 miles south of Tucson.

The mine would be operated through Augusta’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Rosemont Copper Company.

Augusta, a Vancouver, British Columbia speculative mining company, has never operated a mine and has a very limited business history.

Five of the eight current members of Augusta’s board of directors, however, do a have mining history.

Between 2003 and 2007, these executives were on the board of directors of Sargold Resource Corporation. Sargold owned and operated an open-pit gold mine near the small farming village of Furtei in south-central Sardinia.

InvestigativeMEDIA reviewed Sargold’s publicly available business records and traveled to Sardinia and Vancouver to conduct interviews. The reporting lead to the video documentary “Cyanide Beach”.

InvestigativeMEDIA also prepared the following report on Sargold’s business history that includes a detailed analysis at the end of the historical narrative.

InvestigativeMEDIA offered to meet Augusta officials in Vancouver, but Augusta declined interview requests with the five current Augusta board members to discuss their actions as Sargold directors.

The history and analysis is annotated with links to Sargold’s press releases, regulatory disclosures, court records, Canadian mining claim reports, news articles and scientific studies on the unfolding environmental disaster left behind after the Sardinian gold mine was abandoned. [Read more…]

Questions remain three years after Yarnell Hill Fire disaster

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Hearses carrying the bodies of Granite Mountain Hotshots passes through Peeples Valley. Photo By John Dougherty

Hearses carrying the bodies of Granite Mountain Hotshots pass through Peeples Valley, AZ. Photo By John DoughertyNews Analysis

News Analysis

Jasper, Alberta—Three years ago today, at 4:42 p.m., 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed when a fast-moving wildfire entrapped them in a box canyon at the base of the Weaver Mountains west of Yarnell, AZ.

Since that day of wildland firefighting infamy, three books have been published that have yet to answer why the men were in a location they should never have been. And now, a major Hollywood movie is in production that will ultimately completely distort what happened on that tragic afternoon. (How could you, Jeff Bridges?)

More than 22,000 comments have been posted on this site, some of which have helped piece together much of what happened on the worst day of firefighting in the history of Interagency Hotshot Crews after two state-sponsored investigations failed to provide a clear explanation.

But the ultimate “Why”, remains sealed, locked in the code of silence that permeates the world of wildland firefighting where the fear of telling the truth falls a distant third to securing a high-dollar government pension and avoid being blacklisted.

[Read more…]

Documentary about Hudbay Mining gaining attention during Canadian tour

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REGINA, Saskatchewan—Arizona investigative journalist John Dougherty’s cross-Canada tour showing his documentary film “Flin Flon Flim Flam” was featured last week in a Canadian newspaper story and a one-hour radio show hosted by Amnesty International.
The radio interview was broadcast live on CJTR 91.3 FM in Regina and is available as a podcast from Amnesty International’s Human Rights Radio. The wide-ranging interview discussed the key facets of the documentary that focuses on Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals’ worldwide operations in Manitoba, Guatemala, Peru and Arizona.

The issues highlighted in Dougherty’s film continue to receive national and international attention. Just today, the Toronto Star reported on the far-reaching implications of criminal and civil legal proceedings occurring in both Guatemalan and Canadian courts regarding the murder of a leader of a local indigenous community in that Central American country.  In today’s, article Hudbay remarkably would not acknowledge whether or not it is paying the legal costs of the alleged murderer.

The Toronto Star article comes on top of an April New York Times article critical of Hudbay’s role in the same case. [Read more…]