Photo courtesy of Marianne Kobak McKown/Elko Daily Free Press Equipment operates in Bald Mountain Mine Top 2 Pit in October. A proposed plan of expanding the mine was released last month.

Photo courtesy of Marianne Kobak McKown/Elko Daily Free Press
Equipment operates in Bald Mountain Mine Top 2 Pit in October. A proposed plan of expanding the mine was released last month.

After collaborating with agencies and the public, the plan for the proposed expansion of Bald Mountain Mine was released in late June.

The public will have 30 days to review the document before a record of decision is issued.

The Bureau of Land Management Ely District, Egan Field Office, has released the final environmental impact statement for the proposed Bald Mountain Mine North and South Operations Area Projects that would expand an existing open-pit gold mine in White Pine County approximately 65 miles northwest of Ely.

The project was originally proposed by Barrick Gold US Inc., but has recently been purchased by Kinross Mining Inc.

Located mostly on lands administered by the BLM, the project would increase the mine’s footprint by more than 7,000 acres. The final EIS analyzes a number of alternatives that were developed specifically to address concerns about the potential impacts of the project on Greater Sage-Grouse, mule deer, wild horses, and other resources in the area. These alternatives were developed based on close coordination with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the public, and other federal, state and local government agencies.

With respect to Greater Sage-Grouse, the BLM coordinated with the Nevada Sagebrush Ecosystem Technical Team and the company to design compensatory mitigation to offset impacts. Specifically the company has committed to purchasing between 5,251 and 6,039 credits from Nevada’s Conservation Credit System within six months of the credits being available. The goal of CCS is to generate a net benefit for Greater Sage-Grouse habitat to address impacts from human activities.

The agency preferred alternative is the Western Redbird Modification Alternative. This alternative substantially reduces the proposed project’s overall surface disturbance, decreases potential impacts to ground water in the area, and minimizes impacts to Greater Sage-Grouse, mule deer, and wild horses in the Project area.

Following a 30-day availability and review period for the final EIS, the BLM will issue a record of decision describing the alternative it has selected and detailing the provisions that are part of its decision.

The final EIS is posted online at http://on.doi.gov/14R9rZ8 and additional information is available at http://on.doi.gov/14vXckC.

For information on the project or to obtain a printed copy of the final EIS, contact Stephanie Trujillo, BLM Ely District Project Manager, at 775-289-1831 or strujill@blm.gov.