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Arizona, mining company reach settlement

PHOENIX -- Arizona environmental regulators have announced that a mining company will pay $40,000 in civil penalties under a settlement for twice illegally discharging water mixed with mill tailings into the Gila River in 2012.

The Department of Environmental Quality said Asarco LLC made the illegal discharges when pipelines ruptured, spilling 846,000 gallons in June 2012 and 373,000 gallons in August 2012.

The discharges violated the federal Clean Water Act and state water-quality standards.

Department director Henry Darwin said the discharges should have been prevented. He said Asarco has made improvements that include relocating the tailings and replacing the existing pipeline.

The settlement is subject to court approval.

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