The Bureau of Land Management released its final Environmental Impact Study on Midway Gold’s Pan Mine project last week. The BLM will issue a Record of Decision following a 30-day review period that ends on Dec. 19.
The Pan Mine Project is located about 50 miles west of Ely and on BLM public lands. It would consist of two primary open pits, four satellite pits, one leach pad and two rock disposal areas for a total surface disturbance area of 3,204 acres. The projected mining period is 13 years, with associated construction, closure, reclamation and post-closure monitoring periods extending the project life to approximately 25 years.
The EIS lists four alternatives with the preferred alterative coming from a combination of the Southwest Power Line alternative and the Waste Rock Disposal Site design alterative.
The Southwest Power Line alternative was developed to avoid potential impacts to Greater Sage Grouse from the proposed action power line. The Waste Rock Disposal Site Design alternative involves a conventional waste rock disposal design and move waste rock away from more important Greater Sage Grouse habitat in order to minimize impacts.
Midway Gold’s Vice President and General Manager of Nevada Operations Michael Protani said in a public meeting in October that construction is expected to begin in early 2014 with commercial production beginning by the end of 2014.
“It’s a small mine in comparison,” Protani said during the meeting. “If you compare it to Robinson, its probably a tenth of the size…it’s a great little mine for a small mining company to start with.”
Protani said the mine expects to hire about 160 employees during the construction of the mine and about 150 employees for the operation of the mine. Construction is expected to take six to nine months to complete.
During the meeting, Protani said the mine’s life was currently at nine years, but expectations were that it would increase to 13 years, provided the results from drilling came back with expected results.
“There’s still a lot of room for upside,” Protani said. “There’s still a lot of drilling to do and we expect (the mine life) to go up to 13 years if everything comes back like we expect it to.”
Midway Gold expects financial benefits to the county to include $1.2 million in property taxes per year, $12.1 million in estimated payroll per year and $18.1 million in net proceeds tax at $1,200/ounce of gold. The company also expects construction costs to be an estimated $70 million.
Midway Gold said it expects to host another public meeting in January or February of 2014 and continue holding one public meeting a quarter to allow the public to ask questions of any of its projects. Midway Gold also started the permitting process on the Gold Rock Project, which is expected to begin production in 2016 if everything goes according to plan, Protani said.
As the Pan Mine project gets closer to beginning construction and commercial production, Protani said during the company’s public meeting that this is just the start of things to come for the company and the community.
“The Pan Mine is really the start of what we’re about,” Protani said during the meeting. “We’re here to do the right thing and do this mine the right way.”
To view the final EIS, please visit www.blm.gov/nv. To request a printed copy or to find out more information, please contact BLM Ely District mining engineer Miles Kreidler at 775-289-1893 or firstname.lastname@example.org.