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Mining
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Mount Hope Mine awaits final approvals

It’s been a long time coming, but the Mount Hope molybdenum mine planned for northwest of Eureka, Nevada, may get the final go-aheads in the middle of 2019. Then it will be possible for the project to proceed with financing and construction, General Moly Vice President Pat Rogers said this week.

“It has been a very long process,” Rogers said, “but it’s a really exciting deposit. It truly is one of the world’s largest and highest grade undeveloped primary molybdenum deposits. This will be a huge economic benefit to the area and it will be great news in terms of diversity for the mining industry.”

The Bureau of Land Management has released a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Mount Hope Mine Project. The public comment period ends April 22.

The BLM signed a record of decision, approved a mine plan of operations and issued right-of-way grants for the Mount Hope project on Nov. 16, 2012. On Dec. 28, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision asking for further action on three issues related to the proposed mine. That led to the new SEIS which is now available.

Rogers said that since the Supplemental EIS addresses only a few narrow issues, he expects that the public comment probably will not be very extensive and the BLM may be able to issue a final EIS in the middle of 2019. The project is also waiting on a decision from the Nevada state engineer to authorize some changes to water rights which General Moly has owned for over 10 years.

Once these approvals are in place, Rogers said, “Then we’re fully authorized to build and operate the project, and we’ll pursue working on a financing package to fund construction of the project.”

The mine will be designed to have a total of about 8,600 acres of disturbance within the 23,065-acre project area.

“As big as the mine is, it’s designed to be in a fairly efficient and compact space, but it is a mine that would be on the scale of the large gold mines in Nevada,” Rogers said.

The mine is expected to employ more than 700 people during the construction phase. Rogers said that when Mount Hope is up and running, about 400 employees will work on the operation of the mine.

“These will be high-paying jobs,” Rogers said. “The mine industry provides great benefits, and we plan to be competitive with other Nevada mines.”

The Mount Hope Mine “will be a great employer, a great source of tax revenue, and it will be a long-lived economic boon to the local economy,” he said.

Based on what is known about deposits today, Rogers said the mine life is expected to be 30 years, as they process the high grade material and stockpile the lower-grade material. Then there should be about another 10 years of processing the stockpiled material, so that there will be a total of 40 years of production. They expect to produce about 40 million pounds of molybdenum per year for the first five years of production.

The price of molybdenum dropped to around $5 to $7 per pound through most of 2015 through 2017, but it jumped in early 2018, and has been around $12 per pound for the past year.

“It’s one of those metals that’s holding up pretty well,” Rogers said, “based on increasing world stainless steel output and also greater capital investment in the global oil and gas sector.”

Molybdenum “really is a unique metal that is essential to the stainless steel industry,” he said.

About 70 percent of the molybdenum produced is used in stainless steel, and a lot is used in specialty and high-allow steels. Molybdenum provides steel with resistance to corrosion and temperature changes. Places where molybdenum-enhanced steel is found include oil and gas pipelines, wind turbines, solar panels, bridges, tunnels, railroad lines, buildings and more.

Adjacent to the planned Mount Hope molybdenum mine, in an area where there has been occasional mining since the 1870s – primarily for silver and zinc – General Moly drilled nine exploratory holes this past year.

“We got some exciting results that we’re encouraged by, and we’re assessing what our next steps will be for evaluating the mineralization there,” Rogers said.

The Mount Hope molybdenum mine Draft SEIS and related documents are available at https://go.usa.gov/xUhRK. Public comments will be accepted through April 22. They can be emailed to blm_nv_bmdo_eurekamoly_seis@blm.gov, mailed to Kevin Hurrell, Attn: Mt Hope Draft SEIS – Project Manager, 50 Bastian Road, Battle Mountain, Nevada 89820, or faxed to 775-635-4034.


Mining
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State, GBC team up to offer tuition-free trucker training

LAS VEGAS – The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development has partnered with Great Basin College to create a commercial driver’s license program in rural Nevada to help fill the mining industry’s need for professional truck drivers.

Students can apply for one of the 16 tuition-free seats today. Through the use of GOED’s Workforce Innovations for a New Nevada grants, the Elko-based college was able to restart its CDL program as area mining companies face a shortage of truck drivers.

“Nevada, like the rest of the country, is facing a shortage in long-haul truckers causing a bottleneck of raw materials needing to be processed,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said. “We have state programs in place to help answer the call from our mining industry to create a training program for Nevadans to learn a skill that employers need that will keep our economy growing.”

Great Basin College created a five-week training class that will prepare students to take the Nevada Commercial Driver’s License examination. The classes are limited to four students per session; however, the college expects to have four sessions within the first six months.

GOED provided nearly $370,000 in funding to get the program running, including the purchase of a tractor-trailer training vehicle.

“The goal of the WINN program is to help provide Nevada workers with skills that employers need,” said GOED Executive Director Paul Anderson. “GOED saw this partnership with Great Basin College as a way to not only train Nevadans but to also help ensure our mining economy isn’t hampered by a lack of drivers to haul the materials.”

The WINN grant program was created in 2015 by the Nevada Legislature to help develop a highly skilled and diverse workforce. Since the inception of the program, more than $8 million has been awarded to community colleges and universities to help equip Nevada workers with skills needed by employers. More than 1,000 Nevadans have received training through WINN-funded projects for employment opportunities. The average wage for open positions in rural Nevada for truck drivers is more than $60,000 a year.

“Great Basin College is proud to work with the mining industry and GOED to create a program that will not only help our students but also the state as a whole,” said Great Basin College President Joyce Helens. “We appreciate the assistance in getting the program running so our students can use their newly learned skills in the community.”

Several local companies are supporting the reinstatement of the CDL training program including Pilot Thomas Logistics, Savage, Barrick and Newmont North America.

The next CDL training session begins April 8 with the following one starting on May 20. Register for the program through the Great Basin College Continuing Education office. For more information or to enroll, call the GBC Continuing Education office at 775-753-2231 or 775-753-2202.

For more information about the Nevada GOED’s WINN grants, visit diversifynevada.com.


Govt-and-politics
Colorado county approves gun sanctuary resolution

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — A third county in Colorado has become a so-called “Second Amendment sanctuary county.”

The Board of Weld County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday opposing a bill in the state Legislature that would allow family or law enforcement to petition a judge to remove firearms from someone who is deemed dangerous to themselves or others.

Through the resolution, the commissioners said they would not put money toward building a storage facility for weapons seized by law enforcement. Additionally, the commissioners said they will support Sheriff Steve Reams if he decides not to enforce the bill if it becomes a law.

The commissioners cited a desire to protect constitutional rights for their action.

Fremont and Custer counties have approved resolutions similar to Weld County’s.

In Nevada, Elko County Sheriff Aitor Narvaiza has called for county commissioners to declare a Second Amendment sanctuary. Eureka County Sheriff Jesse Watts and Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly have said they will not enforce Nevada’s new law.

“In Germany prior to WWII we saw Hitler place restrictions on the public’s right to bear arms,” Wehrly said in a letter to Sisolak. “I agree with Sheriff Watts. I will not participate in the enforcement of this new law and certainly won’t stand silent.”

Sheriffs in about half of Washington’s 39 counties have said they won’t enforce that state’s new gun sale background check law until the courts decide whether it’s constitutional.


Crime-and-courts
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Woman accused of embezzling more than $40,000 from pawn shop

ELKO – An Elko woman was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of bilking a local pawn shop where she worked out of more than $40,000 over a four-year period.

Amy C. Mariluch, 43, is accused of falsifying the balance sheets and pocketing money from the business. The pawn shop’s manager called police in April 2017 after she discovered several suspicious transactions.

Other employees spent 68 hours going over receipts dating back to 2014, and found many in which the amounts were written over. The total came to $42,198.27.

Mariluch was interviewed by a detective and shown the paperwork with the amounts written over and her initials beside the transaction. She reportedly told him she made corrections whenever money was missing but she did not profit from the changes. Mariluch was charged with one count of embezzlement of more than $3,500, and an alternative count of embezzlement exceeding $650.

She was booked and release from jail Wednesday afternoon.


Crime-and-courts
featured
Spring Creek man booked on $100K bail in pedestrian hit-and-run

ELKO – A Spring Creek man was booked on $100,000 bail Thursday after allegedly striking and injuring two people walking along Spring Valley Parkway before sunrise on a snowy January morning.

When a deputy investigated the incident near the Watering Hole Bar shortly after 6 a.m. Jan. 21, he saw tracks in the snow, a man standing by the road holding his side, and a woman lying in the snow about 12 feet off the road. He also saw pieces of broken amber-colored glass, a piece of chrome trim and a piece of a belt. Most of the glass was quickly swept away – along with the tire tracks – by a passing snowplow.

The man told the deputy that a dark-colored pickup suddenly appeared driving on the shoulder and struck them. The woman was thrown through the air and landed in a ditch.

He said the truck at first slowed down, then sped off and turned on Lamoille Highway toward Elko.

The deputy matched the piece of belt with a belt the woman was wearing. “It appears that the belt was torn off by impact,” he noted.

The injured man sustained bumps, bruises, broken ribs and a “minor” brain bleed, his sister told the deputy. The woman was flown to a hospital in Salt Lake City for treatment of broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and a brain bleed.

Several crashes were reported during the snowstorm that morning, and the deputy found vehicles in Elko with damage but not matching the Spring Creek incident.

With little to go on, the hit-and-run suspect remained at large.

After sundown, another deputy who inquired at Khoury’s gas station about possible surveillance video was told by a clerk that a man had been at the station about an hour earlier, saying he thought he had hit something that morning on his way to work.

The deputies were able to identify a suspect, Jesse A. James, 20, of Spring Creek. They found him at home but the pickup was not there. According to the deputy, James told them it was parked at a friend’s father’s house.

They followed James to the residence and found a Chevy Blazer with the top removed — making it look like a pickup — and damage that was consistent with the crash scene.

James reportedly told them he was driving to work that morning, could not see where he was going because his windshield was frozen over, and knew that he had struck something. He said he didn’t stop because he was late for work.

James faces a single charge of failure to stop at the scene of an accident involving death or personal injury.