EUREKA — After six years of review, the Bureau of Land Management has approved Eureka Moly LLC’s Mt. Hope Molybdenum Mine project in central Nevada.
The Bureau of Land Management’s Battle Mountain District issued the record of decision for the project, which provides the company with the necessary permitting to begin development.
“This is a major milestone for us,” said Zach Spencer, director of external communications for General Moly. “We’re very excited to move this forward and begin production.”
The proposed molybdenum mine, to be located about 23 miles northwest of Eureka near U.S. Highway 278, will utilize an open pit mining method and process the mined ore through a flotation and roasting process. The project will include a 230-kilovolt transmission line, a water well field and other mine-processing facilities.
The mine contains 1.3 billion pounds of molybdenum in proven and probable reserves, according to a news release from General Moly. Molybdenum currently sells for $11.10 per pound, according to CPM Group’s 2012 Molybdenum Market Outlook released Oct. 19.
Molybdenum is a metallic element used as an alloy agent in steel manufacturing, Spencer said. It can be used for a wide range of applications, including solar cells, engines, airplanes and military equipment.
“We’re really excited, because there are several gold mines in Eureka, but General Moly is a molybdenum mine,” he said. “It will diversify the mining industry not just locally, but for the state as well.”
The project life of Mt. Hope includes an 18 to 24-month construction phase, 44 years of mining and processing, 30 years of reclamation, and five years of monitoring. It is expected to provide an average of 400 long-term jobs in the area with a peak employment of 615 personnel during construction activities.
“It is exciting for the residents of Eureka and the surrounding areas to have a mine nearby that will help its infrastructure,” Spencer said.
Since Eureka Molly LLC submitted a plan of operations back in 2006, the company has been collaborating closely with the BLM, the public and several other organizations to address concerns with the proposed mine.
“This decision represents a culmination of extensive coordination with the public and our cooperating agencies, including Eureka County, the National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency and Nevada Department of Wildlife,” said Christopher Cook, field manager for the BLM Mount Lewis Field Office.
“We greatly appreciate all the effort that has been put forth throughout the process to make this project both an economic and environmental success through numerous design features and continued monitoring and mitigation to address emergent issues in the future,” he added.
In response to the BLM’s decision, Eureka County Commissioners sent a news release criticizing BLM and Eureka Moly LLC for failing to resolve many issues related to water consumption and other environmental impacts that the mine might induce.
“Many outstanding issues still remain, which we have strived to resolve with BLM and EML over the past six years,” the release stated. “Ultimately, these issues must be addressed. We are disheartened with the choice of BLM and EML to delay addressing these issues by saddling future decision makers and Eureka County citizens with this responsibility.
“... While we remain concerned about the latitude granted to the Mt. Hope project under the ROD, this Board remains hopeful that Eureka County citizens and future county leaders will require coordination by regulatory agencies and a constructive relationship with EML as the remaining permits are obtained, the financial assurances are provided, construction begins and the project becomes operational.”
General Moly anticipates beginning construction in the first or second financial quarter of next year, and starting production by the end of 2014, according to Spencer.
“With the receipt of the record of decision, and what we believe will be the relatively expeditious issuance of the Water Pollution Control Permit and Reclamation Permit from the State of Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, we expect to move aggressively from a successful permitting process, to finalizing our project financing and initiating the construction and development of Mt. Hope,” said Bruce D. Hansen, chief executive officer of General Moly. “We anticipate that the Mt. Hope Project will become an important contributor to economic development and job opportunities in northern Nevada for decades to come.”
General Moly will host a celebratory luncheon on Thursday. The lunch is open to the public and runs from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Eureka Opera House.