Bald Mountain Mine North and South Operations Area Projects

Bald Mountain MineThe Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Ely District, Egan Field Office is asking the public to review and provide comment on a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Barrick Gold U.S Inc. (Barrick) proposed Bald Mountain Mine North and South Operations Area Projects (Project), an open-pit gold mine expansion that would be located in the Bald Mountain Mining District in White Pine County, Nevada, approximately 65 miles northwest of the Town of Ely. A 45-day public comment period ends Monday, September 28, 2015.

The BLM has scheduled four public comment meetings at locations in Elko, Reno, Eureka and Ely, Nevada, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The dates and locations are:

• Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, Elko Convention Center, 700 Moran Way, Elko
• Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, Best Western Airport Plaza, 1981 Terminal Way, Reno
• Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, Eureka County Opera House, 31 S. Main St., Eureka
• Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, BLM Ely District Office, 702 N. Industrial Way, Ely

The proposed Project would be located on BLM-administered lands and include expansion of the Bald Mountain Mine North and South Operations Areas for an additional 6,903 acres of disturbance.

North Operations Area
Combining and expanding the existing Bald Mountain Mine North Operations Area (NOA) Plan of Operations (Plan) boundary and the existing Casino/Winrock Mine Plan boundary into a unified Plan boundary called the proposed NOA Project would increase the total surface disturbance from 9,381 acres to 13,727 acres and add four new heap leach pads.

South Operations Area
In the South Operations Area (SOA), the existing Alligator Ridge Mine and Yankee Mine plans would be expanded and combined into a unified Plan called the proposed South Operations Area (SOA) Project, which would increase the total surface disturbance from 939 acres to 3,496 acres. The South Operation Area Project Plan of Operations would also include an electrical transmission line and an access road between the North and South operations areas.

The DEIS describes four alternatives: the Proposed Action, the Reconfiguration Alternative, the Western Redbird Modification Alternative, and the No Action Alternative. The North and South Operations Area Facilities Reconfiguration Alternative was developed to address potential impacts to mule deer migration; greater sage-grouse leks and associated Preliminary Priority Habitat (PPH) and Preliminary General Habitat (PGH); visual impacts affecting the cultural setting of the Pony Express National Historic Trail, Ruby Valley Pony Express Station, and Fort Ruby National Historic Landmark; and visual impacts affecting visitor aesthetics at the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The Western Redbird Modification Alternative was developed to further address potential impacts to mule deer migration.

Under the Reconfiguration Alternative, the proposed additional surface disturbance for the NOA and SOA projects would be approximately 5,175 acres and approximately 1,986 acres of authorized disturbance would be withdrawn, which represents a 3,703-acre (54 percent) decrease in comparison to the Proposed Action.

Under the Western Redbird Modification Alternative, the proposed additional surface disturbance for the NOA and SOA projects would be approximately 4,773 acres and approximately 2,220 acres of authorized disturbance would be withdrawn, which represents a 4,339-acre (63 percent) decrease in comparison to the Proposed Action.

The DEIS evaluates the potential impacts that the proposed operation and alternatives may have on human, natural and cultural resources, as well as determine what measures would be necessary to mitigate or reduce the impacts.  Issues identified during the scoping period and analyzed in the DEIS include:

• Potential for degradation of surface water or groundwater quality;
• Potential depletions to groundwater from pit lakes and/or water withdrawals for mine operations;
• Potential impacts to mule deer habitat and migration corridors;
• Potential impacts to greater-sage grouse habitat and strutting grounds;
• Potential impacts to Wild Horse Herd Management Areas (HMAs), including herd access to surface water sources;
• Potential air quality impacts from fugitive dust containing mercury, arsenic, or other contaminants; and
• Potential impacts to visual resources, including the visual setting of the Pony Express Trail (Visual Resource Management [VRM] Class II) and the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).

Interested individuals should address all written comments to the BLM Ely District, HC 33 Box 33500, Ely, NV 89301, Attn: Stephanie Trujillo or fax them to Stephanie Trujillo at (775) 289-1910.  Comments may be submitted to the following e-mail address: BLM_NV_EYDO_Barrick_Bald_EIS@blm.gov

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time.  While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

The Draft EIS is available online at http://on.doi.gov/14R9rZ8.

For more information, contact:

Miles Kreidler, BLM Mining Engineer, at (509) 536-1222 or mkreidler@blm.gov

Stephanie Trujillo, BLM Ely District Project Manager, at (775) 289-1831 or strujill@blm.gov

 


Links of Interest

Press release: BLM Seeks Public’s Comments on the DEIS for the Proposed Bald Mountain Mine North and South Operations Area Projects Northwest of Ely

Federal Register Notice FRN 2015-19924 Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact
Statement for the Proposed Bald Mountain Mine North and South Operations Area Projects, White Pine County, NV

Press Release: BLM to Begin EIS for Bald Mountain Mine North and South Operations Area Projects

Bald Mountain Mine North and South Operations Area Dear Reader Letter and information packet

Federal Register Notice FRN 2012-9089 Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Bald Mountain Mine North and South Operations Area Projects, White Pine County, NV