Celatom Mine Expansion

Current Status

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Burns District released on June 14, 2012, the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed expansion of a Celatom mine, located approximately 50 miles east of Burns and 60 miles west of Vale, Oregon.

Based on the analysis in the Celatom Mine Expansion Project (Project) Final EIS, which was released May 4, 2012, the decision is to approve the "Celatom Mine Plan of Operations" with the specific changes and additions identified in the ROD. The Mine Plan is the Proposed Action in the FEIS Section 3.2 using the mining methods described in Chapter 2.

The Proposed Action, Final EIS section 3.2 and the Mine Plan and appendices, with the addition of the Wildlife Habitat Mitigation Plan and authorization of three seed mixes with road development as described above is the Environmentally Preferred Alternative, best meets the Purpose and Need of the project, complies with the 1872 Mining Law, as amended, 43 CFR 3809, and the Three Rivers RMP. The proposed action allows the claimant reasonable access to explore and develop mineral resources on BLM lands in compliance with the 1872 Mining Law, as amended, and the Three Rivers RMP.

The Final EIS analyzed proposed activities on BLM-administered land and cumulative effects from proposed activities on State-administered and private land, all within the project boundary. Proposed activities include expanded mining operations, new mining operations, and exploratory drilling, development drilling, sampling, trenching, and bulk sampling within the Project boundary.

Project Background

EP Minerals filed a proposed Mine Plan of Operation (MPO) with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in July 2008. The proposed MPO is for the expansion of their current mining operations. The total proposed MPO area is 12,640 acres: 8,080 acres of BLM land, 1,680 acres of State of Oregon land, and 1,600 acres of split estate land with the surface patented under the Stock Raising Homestead Act. The current MPO, approved in 1985, totals approximately 1,634 acres of BLM, State of Oregon, and private lands. The Celatom Complex is a diatomaceous mine currently consisting of three open-pit mines called Beede Desert (on private land), Kelly Field (on BLM-administered land), and Section 36 (on State-administered land) in Harney and Malheur Counties.

Operations in the Celatom Mining Complex in eastern Oregon (located approximately 50 miles east of Burns and 60 miles west of Vale, Oregon) began in 1985. EP Minerals plans to continue mining into the foreseeable future. While there are approximately 70 years of reserves, changing market demands require different diatomaceous earth (DE) products. The proposed MPO would allow exploration and development of the DE resources within the project area to meet these varying demands. The Celatom Mine Complex currently consists of three open-pit mines: Kelley Field (on BLM-administered land), Section 36 (on State land) and Beede Desert (on private land) in Harney and Malheur Counties, Oregon. In addition, EP Minerals has support facilities including generators, water for dust abatement, fuel storage, and a camp for employees. The proposed types of expansion of mining operations and development of new mining operations in the project area include open pit mines, roads within the mine operations areas, and other operations such as stock piling and ancillary features such as service areas.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement was released to the public April 8, 2011.

Documents Available

Compact disks containing the FEIS are available at the BLM Burns and Vale District Offices.

Contact Information

For further information about the FEIS or to have your name added to the project mailing list, contact the Celatom Mine Expansion Project Lead at 541-573-4400.

Mail or deliver to:
Celatom Mine Expansion Project Lead
BLM Burns District Office
Attention: Celatom Mine
28910 Highway 20 West, Hines, Oregon 97738

Attn: Celatom Mine Expansion Project Lead