BATTLE MOUNTAIN – The Bureau of Land Management is seeking input regarding the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for a proposal by Barrick Cortez Inc. to expand its Cortez Hills Project. This is an open pit and underground gold mine south of Crescent Valley, in Lander and Eureka counties.
The public comment period ends Dec. 5, and the BLM has scheduled three public comment meetings in the following locations:
Nov. 6 – BLM Battle Mountain District Office, 50 Bastian Road, Battle Mountain
Nov. 7 – Crescent Valley Town Hall, Crescent Valley
Nov. 8 – Elko Convention Center, 700 Moren Way, Elko
The public meetings will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. These meetings provide the public and interested agencies an opportunity to learn about the mine expansion project and to help identify issues and provide public comments on the DEIS. Early public involvement is crucial to identify potential issues that may need to be addressed through the process.
The proposed project would consist of new and expanded facilities at the Cortez Hills Mine on BLM-administered lands. If the proposed project is approved and developed, there would be an increase of 3,798 acres of mining-related surface disturbance within the Amended Plan of Operations (APO) area including: expansion of pits and waste rock facilities, construction and expansion of water management facilities and construction and operation of additional ancillary facilities. The APO would include increasing the existing approved plan boundary by 4,279 acres – from 58,093 acres to 62,372 acres. In addition, Barrick Cortez Inc. has requested that the underground mine be expanded deeper than is currently authorized to reach new ore deposits.
The BLM has identified preliminary issues relating to water management, vegetation resources, wildlife, special status species, cultural resources, geological resources, paleontological resources, soils, recreational values, aesthetics, air quality, land use and access, social and economic values, Native American cultural concerns and grazing management.
The Deep South DEIS can be accessed on the EPA EIS database or on the NEPA Register at https://go.usa.gov/xP9wk.
Written comments on the DEIS may be submitted on or before Dec. 5, faxed to ATTN: Kevin Hurrell, Project Manager, Deep South Expansion Project at 775-635-4034, or emailed to: blm_nv_bmdo_mlfo_DeepSouthEIS@blm.gov.
Comments and documents on the proposal may be viewed at the Battle Mountain District Office during regular business hours (7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays). Comments may be published as part of the EIS.