BATTLE MOUNTAIN — The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Mount Lewis Field Office, has published a Notice of Availability for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Barrick Cortez Inc.’s proposal to expand its existing open pit and underground gold mine operations in the Cortez Gold Mines (CGM) Operations Area. The proposed expansion, known as the Deep South Expansion Project, is located south of Crescent Valley, in Lander and Eureka counties.
The proposal includes increasing the existing approved plan boundary (known as the CGM Operations Area) by 4,279 acres—from 58,093 acres to 62,372 acres. The project would consist of new and expanded facilities on BLM-administered lands and private lands. When developed, there would be an increase of approximately 3,800 acres of mining-related surface disturbance within the expanded CGM Operations Area, of which 73 percent would be on BLM-administered lands.
The project will include: expansion of open pits, underground mine and waste rock facilities; construction and expansion of water management facilities; and construction and operation of additional ancillary facilities.
These mining operations currently employ about 1,250 people from the northern Nevada towns of Elko, Battle Mountain, Winnemucca, Eureka, Carlin, and surrounding areas. If the Deep South Expansion Project is approved, the company expects to extend the mine life and employment opportunities for its workforce by another 12 years.
In addition to the proposed Project, two other alternatives were fully analyzed: the Gold Acres Pit Partial Backfill Alternative and the No Action Alternative.
Three public scoping meetings were held on April 18, 19, and 20, 2017 and public comment meetings were held on Oct. 6, 7, and 8, 2018 at the following locations: Battle Mountain, Crescent Valley, and Elko, Nevada. Comments received during the public scoping and review process have been incorporated into the final EIS.
After the 30-day review process, the Mount Lewis Field Office will make a determination to either approve the project or select the No Action Alternative.
The final EIS and other relevant documents are available at https://go.usa.gov/xmQR9. For questions regarding the final EIS, please contact BLM Project Manager Kevin Hurrell at 775-635-4000.