[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 23 (Monday, February 4, 2013)]
[Pages 7808-7809]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-02361]



Bureau of Land Management

[LLNVB00000 L71220000 EX0000 LVTFF1206210 241A; NVN-090702; 13-08807; 
MO 4500046118; TAS: 14X8069]

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
the Proposed Buffalo Valley Mine Project, Lander and Humboldt Counties, 

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended (NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act 
of 1976, as amended, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Mount Lewis 
Field Office, Battle Mountain, Nevada, intends to prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze and disclose impacts 
associated with the Buffalo Valley Mine Project, a proposed open pit 
gold mine, mill, and associated facilities, located on public and 
private lands in Lander and Humboldt counties, Nevada, and by this 
notice is announcing the beginning of the scoping process to solicit 
public comments and identify issues.

DATES: This notice initiates the public scoping process for the EIS. 
Comments on issues may be submitted in writing until March 6, 2013. The 
date(s) and location(s) of any scoping meetings will be announced at 
least 15 days in advance through local media, newspapers, and the BLM 
Web site at: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/battle_mountain_field.html. In order to be considered during the preparation of the 
Draft EIS, all comments must be received prior to the close of the 30 
day scoping period or 15 days after the last public meeting, whichever 
is later. The BLM will provide additional opportunities for public 
participation upon publication of the Draft EIS.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the proposed Buffalo 
Valley Mine Project by any of the following methods:
     Web site: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/battle_mountain_field.html.
     Email: BLM_NV_BMDO_BuffaloValleyMineProject@blm.gov.
     Fax: 775-635-4034.
     Mail: BLM, Mount Lewis Field Office, 50 Bastian Road, 
Battle Mountain, NV 89820.
    Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined at the Mount 
Lewis Field Office.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information and/or to have 
your name added to our mailing list, contact Andrea Dolbear, 
Environmental Protection Specialist, telephone 775-635-4017; address,50 
Bastian Road, Battle Mountain, NV 89820; email asdolbear@blm.gov.
    Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may 
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to 
contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is 
available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question 
with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal 
business hours.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Newmont Mining Corporation, in a joint 
venture with Fairmile Gold, proposes to construct, operate, reclaim, 
and close an open pit, heap leach, precious-metal, mining operation 
known as the Buffalo Valley Mine Project. The proposed project would be 
located 20 miles southwest of Battle Mountain, Nevada, and 12 miles 
northwest of Newmont's Phoenix Mine in Lander and Humboldt counties. 
The legal land description for the proposed project area is:

Mount Diablo Meridian

T. 31 N., R. 42 E.,
    Secs 3, 4, 5, and 6;
T. 32 N., R. 42 E.,
    Secs 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, and 34.

The area described contains 5,968 acres, more or less, in Lander and 
Humboldt counties, Nevada.
    The proposed project area would be comprised of approximately 5,968 
acres, of which 3,662 acres are public land administered by the BLM. 
Approximately 2,274 of the 3,662 acres are in Lander County and managed 
by the BLM Mount Lewis Field Office and approximately 1,388 acres are 
in Humboldt County and managed by the BLM Winnemucca District, Humboldt 
River Field Office. The Battle Mountain District, Mount Lewis Field 
Office will manage all of the public lands on this proposed project. 
Approximately 2,306 acres within the proposed project area are private 
land controlled by Newmont.
    The Buffalo Valley Mine Project is in conformance with the 1986 
Shoshone-Eureka Resource Area Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Record 
of Decision (ROD). The ROD states that all public land in the planning 
areas will be open for mining and prospecting unless withdrawn or 
restricted from mineral entry. One of the objectives of the RMP is to 
make available and encourage development of mineral resources to meet 
the national, regional, and local needs consistent with national 
objectives, for an adequate supply of minerals. The proposed project 
also conforms to the BLM Winnemucca District, 1982 Sonoma-Gerlach 
Management Framework Plan at Section .42 Minerals, Objective M1 to make 
all public lands and other federally owned minerals available for the 
exploration and development of mineral and material commodities.
    The proposed project is estimated to produce approximately 40 
million tons of ore grade material from an estimated 226 million tons 
of material to be extracted using conventional open pit mining methods 
of drilling and blasting. The proposed project would consist of the 
following components: 2 open pits; mine dewatering system; 3 waste rock 
storage areas; crushing system; heap leach pad; process facility; high-
grade ore stockpile; process ponds; borrow pit; storm water pond and 
diversion ditches; small shop/office and maintenance facility; fuel 
facility; access and haul roads; top soil (growth media) stockpiles; 
powerline; water supply well; and exploration.
    The Buffalo Valley Mine Road is a county road located in both 
Lander and Humboldt counties on the east side of Buffalo Valley. It 
bisects the proposed project area and would be rerouted to the west 
around the proposed project facilities. The plan of operation is to 
haul ore for crushing and leaching with a dilute cyanide solution. The 
life of the mine would be approximately 10 years. Newmont anticipates a 
workforce of 120 employees during the production phase of the mine.
    An interdisciplinary approach will be used to develop the EIS in 
order to consider the variety of resource issues and concerns 
identified during the scoping period. Potential direct, indirect, 
residual, and cumulative impacts from the proposed action will be 
analyzed in the EIS.
    The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant 
issues that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis, 
including potential alternatives, and the extent to

[[Page 7809]]

which those issues and impacts will be analyzed in the EIS. At present, 
the BLM has identified the following preliminary issues: pit lake 
formation post closure, mine dewatering, wildlife, and socioeconomic 
    The BLM will follow the NEPA public participation requirements to 
satisfy the public involvement requirements under Section 106 of the 
National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (16 U.S.C. 470(f)) pursuant 
to 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). Any information about historic and cultural 
resources within the area potentially affected by the proposed project 
will assist the BLM in identifying and evaluating impacts to such 
resources in the context of both NEPA and Section 106 of the NHPA.
    The BLM will consult with Indian tribes on a government-to-
government basis in accordance with Executive Order 13175 and other 
policies. Tribal concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets and 
potential impacts to cultural resources, will be given due 
consideration. Federal, State, and local agencies, along with tribes 
and other stakeholders that may be interested in or affected by the 
proposed Buffalo Valley Mine Project are invited to participate in the 
scoping process and, if eligible, may request or be requested by the 
BLM to participate in the development of the environmental analysis as 
a cooperating agency.
    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

    Authority:  40 CFR 1501.7

Christopher J. Cook,
Field Manager, Mount Lewis Field Office.
[FR Doc. 2013-02361 Filed 2-1-13; 8:45 am]