An Appeals Court has overruled a previous, lower court ban on Titan Cement SA’s mining operations in the Lake Belt district of Florida, and has ordered the lower court to reconsider the case, the company said Monday.
The Appeals Court also reversed a lower court decision ruling that mining permits held by the company, issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, were invalid.
"On Friday May 9th, 2008 the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta issued a decision overruling the ban on mining in the Miami Lake Belt imposed by a South Florida District court in July 2007," Titan said in a statement.
"The Appeals Court further reversed the Court’s May 2006 decision finding that the mining permits issued in 2001 by the US Army Corps of Engineers were improperly issued," the statement added.
The Appeals Court ruling is a significant victory for Titan Cement, which had been hit hard by the previous ban.
The lower court decision last July had forced Titan - as well as two other companies, to cease mining in the state’s Lake Belt region pending the results of an environmental impact study. That decision affected a significant part of Titan’s Pennsuco quarry and cement plant which combined contributed about 16% of Titan’s operating profits.
"The Appeals Court sent the case back to the District Court, instructing that the case be judged, not based on the District Judge’s predetermined personal opinions and analyses, but by showing due deference to the expert analyses and recommendations of the responsible government agencies and authorities," the Titan statement added.
"These agencies and authorities have repeatedly stated that mining consistent with permitted conditions does not pose a threat to the environment or local communities," it said.