Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Phoenix Copper Leach Project, Lander County, NV, 66956-66957 [2011-27796]

Download as PDF 66956 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 209 / Friday, October 28, 2011 / Notices PUBLIC INPUT—Continued If you wish to You must contact the Council Coordinator (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) no later than Give an oral presentation during the meeting .......................................... November 7, 2011. Attendance Because entry to Federal buildings is restricted, all visitors are required to preregister to be admitted. In order to attend this meeting, you must register by close of business on the dates listed in ‘‘Public Input’’ under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Please submit your name, time of arrival, email address, and phone number to the Council Coordinator (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Submitting Written Information or Questions Interested members of the public may submit relevant information or questions for the Council to consider during the public meeting. Written statements must be received by the date above, so that the information may be made available to the Council for their consideration prior to this meeting. Written statements must be supplied to the Council Coordinator in both of the following formats: One hard copy with original signature, and one electronic copy via email (acceptable file formats are Adobe Acrobat PDF, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, or rich text file). Giving an Oral Presentation sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Individuals or groups requesting to make an oral presentation at the meeting will be limited to 2 minutes per speaker, with no more than a total of 30 minutes for all speakers. Interested parties should contact the Council Coordinator, in writing (preferably via email; see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT), to be placed on the public speaker list for this meeting. Nonregistered public speakers will not be considered during the meeting. Registered speakers who wish to expand upon their oral statements, or those who had wished to speak but could not be accommodated on the agenda, may submit written statements to the Council Coordinator up to 30 days subsequent to the meeting. Meeting Minutes Summary minutes of the conference will be maintained by the Council Coordinator (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) and will be available for public inspection within 90 days of the meeting and will be VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:56 Oct 27, 2011 Jkt 226001 posted on the Council’s Web site at http://www.fws.gov/whhcc. Hannibal Bolton, Acting Director. [FR Doc. 2011–27946 Filed 10–27–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLNVB00000.L51100000.GN0000. LVEMF09CF200.241A; NVN–067930; 11– 08807; MO#4500024151; TAS: 14X5017] Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Phoenix Copper Leach Project, Lander County, NV Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of Availability. AGENCY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as modified, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Nevada has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Phoenix Copper Leach Project (Proposed Project) and by this notice is announcing the opening of the comment period. DATES: To ensure comments will be considered, the BLM must receive written comments on the Phoenix Copper Leach Project Draft EIS within 45 days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency publishes its Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. The BLM will announce future meetings or hearings and any other public involvement activities at least 15 days in advance through public notices, media releases, and/or mailings. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Phoenix Copper Leach Project Draft EIS by any of the following methods to the attention of Dave Davis: • Fax: (775) 635–4034. • Email: CU_Leach@blm.gov. • Mail: Bureau of Land Management, 50 Bastian Road, Battle Mountain, NV 89820 Attn: Phoenix Project Manager. Copies of the Phoenix Copper Leach Project Draft EIS are available in the Mount Lewis Field Office at the above address and on the Battle Mountain District’s National Environmental Policy SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Act (NEPA) Web page at: http://www. blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/battle_mountain_ field/blm_information/national_ environmental.html. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information contact Dave Davis, BLM Battle Mountain District, Phoenix Copper Leach Project Manager, telephone (775) 635–4150; address 50 Bastian Road, Battle Mountain, NV 89820; email CU_Leach@blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (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 (Newmont) has submitted a proposed Amendment to the Plan of Operations for expansion and operation of the existing Phoenix Gold Mine to include leaching and beneficiation of copper oxide rock material that was previously permitted for disposal on waste rock facilities within the approved Phoenix Mine boundary. The Proposed Project would be located in north-central Nevada 12 miles southwest of Battle Mountain, Nevada, on private and public lands in Lander County. The proposed expansion would increase the surface disturbance of the existing mine area an additional 902 acres; 194 acres of public land and 708 acres of private land. The Phoenix Copper Leach Project Draft EIS describes and analyzes the site-specific impacts for all affected resources. Three alternatives are analyzed: two action alternatives, the Proposed Action and the Reona Copper Heap Leach Facility (HLF) Elimination Alternative, and the No Action Alternative. Eleven other alternatives were considered then eliminated from further analysis and are discussed in the Draft EIS. Alternatives considered but eliminated from further analysis include: three alternative process options; three alternative plant design options; two alternative facility location options; one alternate pond cover design option; one alternate Phoenix heap leach pad configuration option; and the Borrow Area Elimination Alternative. E:\FR\FM\28OCN1.SGM 28OCN1 sroberts on DSK5SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 209 / Friday, October 28, 2011 / Notices Mitigation measures have been identified to minimize potential environmental impacts and to ensure that the Proposed Project would not result in undue or unnecessary degradation of public lands. In addition, the Draft EIS includes an analysis of cumulative impacts, including a comprehensive evaluation of potential impacts to Native American cultural values. The BLM’s Preferred Alternative is the Proposed Action as modified by the proposed mitigation. The Phoenix Copper Leach Project Preferred Alternative would consist of the following primary components: (1) Expansion of the existing project boundary; (2) development and operation of two copper HLFs; (3) construction of six new process ponds; (4) construction and operation of a copper solvent extraction/electrowinning facility; (5) designation of a new optional use area that could be developed as a copper HLF and borrow area; (6) establishment of a new clay borrow area; (7) development of new water monitoring wells; (8) construction of a new haul road, pipeline, and utility corridor; (9) development of a new production water well; and (10) conversion of six process ponds to evaporation ponds during reclamation. New surface disturbance associated with the Proposed Action totals 902 acres. The majority of the proposed facilities would occur in areas that previously have been approved for surface disturbance. Under the Proposed Action, approximately 158 million tons of copper ore would be mined for processing resulting in the production of approximately 245 million pounds of recoverable copper during the ore processing timeframe. Active mining and processing for the project would last approximately 24 years; overall closure and reclamation activities are anticipated to extend approximately 10 years beyond the operational phase. A minimum of 13 years of revegetation and reclamation monitoring are estimated following mine closure. Under the Reona Copper HLF Elimination Alternative, the proposed Reona Copper HLF and associated infrastructure (e.g., solution pipelines between the proposed solvent extraction/electro-winning facility and the Reona Copper HLF and event pond) would not be developed. The 58 acres of proposed disturbance within the Reona heap leach pad area would continue to be utilized as a gold cyanide HLF, as permitted under the Phoenix Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (NV063–EIS00–28, 2002). The eight million ton of copper ore, planned for the Reona Copper HLF, VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:56 Oct 27, 2011 Jkt 226001 would not be mined and processed by leaching. All other facilities would be the same as discussed for the Proposed Action. The No Action Alternative would involve continuation of currently authorized gold mining, leaching, and milling operations at the Phoenix Mine in accordance with the Plan of Operations NVN–067930, as permitted under the Phoenix Project Record of Decision (November 28, 2003) and the other Federal and state permits. Under the No Action Alternative, the Proposed Project would not be constructed, and the currently classified waste rock that contains leach-grade copper would continue to be disposed of in one or more of the currently permitted waste rock facilities at the Phoenix Mine. Upon completion of currently permitted mining operations, the existing facilities identified and analyzed in the Phoenix Project Final EIS would be closed and reclaimed in accordance with current permits and applicable Federal and state closure and reclamation requirements. On February 12, 2008, a Notice of Intent was published in the Federal Register (73 FR 8059–8060) inviting scoping comments on the Proposed Project. A public scoping meeting was held on February 27, 2008, in Battle Mountain, Nevada. The Draft EIS reflects input received from the public and other government agencies. Key issues identified during the scoping process include the following: (1) Potential contamination of surface water and groundwater from leakage or spillage of process solutions or reagents; (2) potential contamination of water in Willow Creek drainage during flood events from the operation of the proposed Phoenix Copper Leach Facility; (3) potential increases in local atmospheric particulates resulting from haul traffic and increased disturbance of soil surfaces; (4) potential atmospheric emissions of sulfuric acid and other process chemicals; (5) increased fragmentation and loss of wildlife habitat; (6) potential contribution to cumulative water quality issues within the Battle Mountain mining district; (7) permanent alternation of local landforms, visible over a considerable distance; (8) potential impacts to cultural resources and resources important to Native Americans; and (9) potential socioeconomic impacts. All comments that were received have been incorporated in a Scoping Summary Report and have been considered in preparation of this Draft EIS. During the development of the Draft EIS, the Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX, the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 66957 Mining Regulation and Reclamation, and the Nevada Department of Wildlife identified the permanent closure of the copper leach facilities and disposal of chemical precipitates resulting from the drain-down of fluids during the closure process as an issue of concern. In May 2008, the BLM sent letters to 12 tribes, bands, and interested parties notifying them of the Proposed Project and soliciting comments. Three of these groups (Battle Mountain Band, Yomba Shoshone, and Duckwater Shoshone) responded to the letters, and one, the Battle Mountain Band, requested a field tour of the study area. The field tour was held on August 29, 2008. Several concerns were expressed by the tribal participants, in particular, mining and its impacts on natural resources. None of the tribal members identified any specific sites or resources of concern within the Proposed Project area. The BLM continued consultation in February 2011, by sending letters to seven tribes, bands, and interested parties. No additional issues have been raised. Please note that public comments and information submitted including names, street addresses, and email addresses of persons who submit comments will be available for public review and disclosure at the above address during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), Monday through Friday, except holidays. 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 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10 Christopher J. Cook, Field Manager, Mount Lewis Field Office. [FR Doc. 2011–27796 Filed 10–27–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–HC–P E:\FR\FM\28OCN1.SGM 28OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 209 (Friday, October 28, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 66956-66957]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-27796]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[LLNVB00000.L51100000.GN0000.LVEMF09CF200.241A; NVN-067930; 11-08807; 
MO4500024151; TAS: 14X5017]


Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Impact 
Statement for the Phoenix Copper Leach Project, Lander County, NV

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Availability.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as modified, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Nevada has 
prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Phoenix 
Copper Leach Project (Proposed Project) and by this notice is 
announcing the opening of the comment period.

DATES: To ensure comments will be considered, the BLM must receive 
written comments on the Phoenix Copper Leach Project Draft EIS within 
45 days following the date the Environmental Protection Agency 
publishes its Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. The BLM 
will announce future meetings or hearings and any other public 
involvement activities at least 15 days in advance through public 
notices, media releases, and/or mailings.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments related to the Phoenix Copper Leach 
Project Draft EIS by any of the following methods to the attention of 
Dave Davis:
     Fax: (775) 635-4034.
     Email: CU_Leach@blm.gov.
     Mail: Bureau of Land Management, 50 Bastian Road, Battle 
Mountain, NV 89820 Attn: Phoenix Project Manager.
    Copies of the Phoenix Copper Leach Project Draft EIS are available 
in the Mount Lewis Field Office at the above address and on the Battle 
Mountain District's National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Web page 
at: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/battle_mountain_field/blm_information/national_environmental.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information contact Dave 
Davis, BLM Battle Mountain District, Phoenix Copper Leach Project 
Manager, telephone (775) 635-4150; address 50 Bastian Road, Battle 
Mountain, NV 89820; email CU_Leach@blm.gov. Persons who use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (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 (Newmont) has 
submitted a proposed Amendment to the Plan of Operations for expansion 
and operation of the existing Phoenix Gold Mine to include leaching and 
beneficiation of copper oxide rock material that was previously 
permitted for disposal on waste rock facilities within the approved 
Phoenix Mine boundary. The Proposed Project would be located in north-
central Nevada 12 miles southwest of Battle Mountain, Nevada, on 
private and public lands in Lander County. The proposed expansion would 
increase the surface disturbance of the existing mine area an 
additional 902 acres; 194 acres of public land and 708 acres of private 
land.
    The Phoenix Copper Leach Project Draft EIS describes and analyzes 
the site-specific impacts for all affected resources. Three 
alternatives are analyzed: two action alternatives, the Proposed Action 
and the Reona Copper Heap Leach Facility (HLF) Elimination Alternative, 
and the No Action Alternative. Eleven other alternatives were 
considered then eliminated from further analysis and are discussed in 
the Draft EIS. Alternatives considered but eliminated from further 
analysis include: three alternative process options; three alternative 
plant design options; two alternative facility location options; one 
alternate pond cover design option; one alternate Phoenix heap leach 
pad configuration option; and the Borrow Area Elimination Alternative.

[[Page 66957]]

Mitigation measures have been identified to minimize potential 
environmental impacts and to ensure that the Proposed Project would not 
result in undue or unnecessary degradation of public lands. In 
addition, the Draft EIS includes an analysis of cumulative impacts, 
including a comprehensive evaluation of potential impacts to Native 
American cultural values. The BLM's Preferred Alternative is the 
Proposed Action as modified by the proposed mitigation.
    The Phoenix Copper Leach Project Preferred Alternative would 
consist of the following primary components: (1) Expansion of the 
existing project boundary; (2) development and operation of two copper 
HLFs; (3) construction of six new process ponds; (4) construction and 
operation of a copper solvent extraction/electro-winning facility; (5) 
designation of a new optional use area that could be developed as a 
copper HLF and borrow area; (6) establishment of a new clay borrow 
area; (7) development of new water monitoring wells; (8) construction 
of a new haul road, pipeline, and utility corridor; (9) development of 
a new production water well; and (10) conversion of six process ponds 
to evaporation ponds during reclamation. New surface disturbance 
associated with the Proposed Action totals 902 acres. The majority of 
the proposed facilities would occur in areas that previously have been 
approved for surface disturbance. Under the Proposed Action, 
approximately 158 million tons of copper ore would be mined for 
processing resulting in the production of approximately 245 million 
pounds of recoverable copper during the ore processing timeframe. 
Active mining and processing for the project would last approximately 
24 years; overall closure and reclamation activities are anticipated to 
extend approximately 10 years beyond the operational phase. A minimum 
of 13 years of revegetation and reclamation monitoring are estimated 
following mine closure.
    Under the Reona Copper HLF Elimination Alternative, the proposed 
Reona Copper HLF and associated infrastructure (e.g., solution 
pipelines between the proposed solvent extraction/electro-winning 
facility and the Reona Copper HLF and event pond) would not be 
developed. The 58 acres of proposed disturbance within the Reona heap 
leach pad area would continue to be utilized as a gold cyanide HLF, as 
permitted under the Phoenix Project Final Environmental Impact 
Statement (NV063-EIS00-28, 2002). The eight million ton of copper ore, 
planned for the Reona Copper HLF, would not be mined and processed by 
leaching. All other facilities would be the same as discussed for the 
Proposed Action.
    The No Action Alternative would involve continuation of currently 
authorized gold mining, leaching, and milling operations at the Phoenix 
Mine in accordance with the Plan of Operations NVN-067930, as permitted 
under the Phoenix Project Record of Decision (November 28, 2003) and 
the other Federal and state permits. Under the No Action Alternative, 
the Proposed Project would not be constructed, and the currently 
classified waste rock that contains leach-grade copper would continue 
to be disposed of in one or more of the currently permitted waste rock 
facilities at the Phoenix Mine. Upon completion of currently permitted 
mining operations, the existing facilities identified and analyzed in 
the Phoenix Project Final EIS would be closed and reclaimed in 
accordance with current permits and applicable Federal and state 
closure and reclamation requirements.
    On February 12, 2008, a Notice of Intent was published in the 
Federal Register (73 FR 8059-8060) inviting scoping comments on the 
Proposed Project. A public scoping meeting was held on February 27, 
2008, in Battle Mountain, Nevada. The Draft EIS reflects input received 
from the public and other government agencies. Key issues identified 
during the scoping process include the following: (1) Potential 
contamination of surface water and groundwater from leakage or spillage 
of process solutions or reagents; (2) potential contamination of water 
in Willow Creek drainage during flood events from the operation of the 
proposed Phoenix Copper Leach Facility; (3) potential increases in 
local atmospheric particulates resulting from haul traffic and 
increased disturbance of soil surfaces; (4) potential atmospheric 
emissions of sulfuric acid and other process chemicals; (5) increased 
fragmentation and loss of wildlife habitat; (6) potential contribution 
to cumulative water quality issues within the Battle Mountain mining 
district; (7) permanent alternation of local landforms, visible over a 
considerable distance; (8) potential impacts to cultural resources and 
resources important to Native Americans; and (9) potential 
socioeconomic impacts. All comments that were received have been 
incorporated in a Scoping Summary Report and have been considered in 
preparation of this Draft EIS. During the development of the Draft EIS, 
the Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX, the Nevada Department 
of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Mining Regulation and 
Reclamation, and the Nevada Department of Wildlife identified the 
permanent closure of the copper leach facilities and disposal of 
chemical precipitates resulting from the drain-down of fluids during 
the closure process as an issue of concern.
    In May 2008, the BLM sent letters to 12 tribes, bands, and 
interested parties notifying them of the Proposed Project and 
soliciting comments. Three of these groups (Battle Mountain Band, Yomba 
Shoshone, and Duckwater Shoshone) responded to the letters, and one, 
the Battle Mountain Band, requested a field tour of the study area. The 
field tour was held on August 29, 2008. Several concerns were expressed 
by the tribal participants, in particular, mining and its impacts on 
natural resources. None of the tribal members identified any specific 
sites or resources of concern within the Proposed Project area. The BLM 
continued consultation in February 2011, by sending letters to seven 
tribes, bands, and interested parties. No additional issues have been 
raised. Please note that public comments and information submitted 
including names, street addresses, and email addresses of persons who 
submit comments will be available for public review and disclosure at 
the above address during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), 
Monday through Friday, except holidays.
    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 1506.6, 40 CFR 1506.10

Christopher J. Cook,
Field Manager, Mount Lewis Field Office.
[FR Doc. 2011-27796 Filed 10-27-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-HC-P