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Gold Bar Project gets green light

BATTLE MOUNTAIN – The Bureau of Land Management is allowing work to begin at the Gold Bar site, after completing its analysis of McEwen Mining Inc.’s proposal for the mine.

The project will be located approximately 30 miles northwest of Eureka in the Southern Roberts Mountains and is expected to create 120 new jobs.

The Record of Decision was signed by the BLM on Nov. 7. The Final Environmental Impact Statement, made available for public review on Oct. 7, included four alternatives that examined the mine’s range of potential impacts to natural resources in the area, such as water resources, air quality, vegetation, wildlife, livestock grazing, recreation and cultural resources.

The BLM approved the proposed action, which includes a number of environmental protection measures and is in line with BLM priorities, including working with agency partners to promote multiple-use on public lands, promoting job creation and supporting working landscapes.

Total project disturbance will be approximately 1,129 acres, with approximately 946 acres on public land administered by the BLM Mount Lewis Field Office and 183 acres on private land. The project includes an open pit gold mine with four open pits; mine access roads; waste rock disposal areas; crushing, screening, and agglomeration facilities; a heap leach facility; an adsorption, desorption, and recovery plant; and ancillary facilities.

Relevant documents are available on the BLM ePlanning website and hard copies of these documents are available for review at the Mount Lewis Field Office, 50 Bastian Road in Battle Mountain, during regular business hours, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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Head Start modules installed on Silver Street

ELKO – US Modular Group Inc. is installing six new modules at the corner of Silver Street and Sweetwater Lane for Head Start of Northeastern Nevada.

“We applied to a grant from the Head Start program, and it was approved.” Infant Manager Charlotte Torres said. “We then purchased the larger building.”

This installation is part of Head Start of Northeastern Nevada’s plan to develop its facility at 1326 Silver St. to use in addition to its preschool parallel to the site.

“Currently, we are running on three half-day classrooms. This new facility will have three full-day classrooms to provide enough space for the children’s needs,” Family Advocate Teresa Carlos said.

The modules will make up a separate building that will be used as a 4,100-square-foot expansion to the original building.

“Head Start is moving toward duration to move toward school readiness,” Executive Director Brenna Malone said. “We received the grant in good standing, and this will allow us to increase our hours this year. This allows for parents to go to work, support their families, and have a healthier community.”

This project has been in progress for six months by contract before beginning the installation yesterday.

“We arrived in town yesterday first thing in the morning, and we hope to have the buildings up by this afternoon,” Ken Roche of US Modular Group said Tuesday.

Four of the six new modules measure 12 feet wide by 58 feet long, and the other two are 12 feet wide by 54 feet long due to the indentures for door frames. Each module weights 30,000 pounds.

“I spent a lot of time at both facilities in town with the people who work there every day,” architect Catherine Wines said. “They told me what they liked and disliked, and I incorporated that information because, at the end of the day, they are the ones who will use the facility.”

The module installation is a collaborative work among Sterling Crane Company of Elko, Remington Construction, who prepared the site, and the US Modular Group based out of Boise, Idaho.

“The new structure looks here to have three new classrooms, restrooms, offices, conference room, and a warming kitchen,” said Roche while overlooking the building plans.

The modules are installed by first removing the shipping materials. Then, the Sterling crane company balances the weight of each module on the truck to adjust the straps used to lift the module.

The crane operator communicates with the workers on the ground, who hold onto balancing ropes to guide the module as it hangs in the air, and the crane operator moves it into the correct position. They do this to ensure the module will not be damaged during this lifting process.

Once the module is elevated above the foundation below, workers on the ground communicate and signal to the crane operator to secure and balance each module on the foundation.

The modules have to align correctly with prior modules installed, the outside siding of the building, and other interior systems such as the flooring, and other openings for utilities and plumbing to be installed. If not, the crane operator and other workers have to measure and re-align the piece until it fits securely in place before they can install the piece on the concrete foundation.

“The modules will be laid on the foundation, and then we will work on finishing the work with the installation of the heating and rooftop air conditioning units, bolt the floors together, and then nail the roofs in,” Roche said.

The installation will also include cleaning up the sidewalks, and paving the asphalt around the facility, as well as installation of the streetlights along that sidewalk.

“These modules seem to be the most economical option,” Wines said. “The people at Head Start would like to occupy the facility after the first of the year.”

The City of Elko Planning Commission was conducting a public hearing Tuesday evening to discuss and take action on a permit the daycare facility will need to occupy the light-industrial space.

MSHA posts preliminary Marigold report

ELKO — Some details about the fatal accident at the Marigold Mine in Valmy became public Nov. 6 when the Mine Safety and Health Administration released its preliminary report.

“A passenger van carrying nine miners was run over by a 340-ton haul truck,” the MSHA accident description states regarding the Oct. 31 accident at the open pit mine. “The driver of the van and another miner in the front passenger seat were fatally injured.”

The two killed were safety superintendent Pete Kuhn and equipment operator Omar Bernal. The accident occurred at 2:10 p.m., and MSHA was notified at 2:51 p.m.

MSHA’s report shows that Kuhn, who was driving the passenger van, had 25 years and 20 weeks of mining experience. He was 60 years old. He died at the time of the accident. An autopsy was performed by the Washoe County Medical Examiner.

Omar Bernal, 39, had 16 weeks of experience, according to the report. He was riding in the front passenger’s seat at the time of the accident, but the report shows that he died Nov. 1 at 12:20 a.m. An autopsy was performed by the Humboldt County Medical Examiner.

MSHA notes that a total of 380 employees work for Marigold Mining Co., owned by SSR Mining Inc., with 308 assigned to the open pit/quarry, 35 to the mill/prep plant and 37 others. The mine also employs a total of 59 contractors.

In a statement released Nov. 1, SSR Mining reported that seven trainees in the van were taken to a hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries and released. An MSHA representative said the haul truck driver was hospitalized for treatment of shock.

MSHA is conducting an investigation, and SSR Mining stated it is cooperating fully and will conduct its own operational and safety review.

Mine operations were suspended after the accident, and will resume only once management has conducted a site assessment and briefs employees to ensure a safe restart, according to SSR Mining.

To date in 2017, MSHA reports that there have been 12 metal/nonmetal mining fatalities nationwide. In the coal sector, 14 have died. In 2016, a total of 16 fatalities occurred, including one in Nevada.

Former assistant Nevada AG says he'll run for top spot
Former assistant Nevada state AG says he'll run for top spot

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former assistant Nevada state attorney general says he’ll run as a Republican for the top state law enforcement position.

Wes Duncan formally announced last week that he’ll run to replace state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a Republican who just kicked off his bid for governor.

“I want to make Nevada the safest place to raise a family,” said Duncan, a former state Assembly member who was elected in 2012 and 2014 but resigned from the Legislature to move to the attorney general’s office.

Duncan quit his post in September to become a partner in the Nevada law firm Hutchison & Steffen.

State Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, a Democrat, also says he will seek the office to be decided next November.

Duncan, in an interview Tuesday, said he wanted to avoid being a state employee running for elected office, and he believes Nevada should join several other states that require mid-term elected officials to resign to run for another position.

He is a major in the Air Force Reserve who serves as a judge advocate at Nellis Air Force Base. In active duty, he deployed to the Middle East and worked at the Central Criminal Court of Iraq in Baghdad.

Duncan pointed to his work chairing an attorney general’s office working group that studied reducing a backlog of some 8,000 sexual assault evidence kits. The state Legislature passed a bipartisan law this year giving police 30 days to send rape kits to laboratories, and labs 180 days to test the samples.

Duncan also served as vice chair of a panel to develop policies to combat drug addiction.

Ford is an attorney from Las Vegas who was elected to the state Senate in 2012 and re-elected in 2016. He cites endorsements from the state’s Democratic congressional delegation: U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Reps. Dina Titus, Ruben Kihuen and Jacky Rosen.

Duncan said he hopes to win endorsements from Nevada’s 17 county sheriffs.