Black Hills National Forest, Bearlodge Ranger District; Wyoming; Bear Lodge Project, 17497-17500 [2014-06916]

Download as PDF mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 60 / Friday, March 28, 2014 / Notices back to the country of origin. APHIS has decided to add a new treatment schedule (T521) for plant pathogenic bacteria and fungi on dried plant parts, including wood and articles made with wood. Therefore, in accordance with § 305.3(a)(1), we are providing notice that we have determined that it is necessary to make the changes described above to the treatment manual. In order to have minimum adverse impact on ongoing trade and using the immediate process as provided in § 305.3(b), these changes are effective immediately upon publication of this notice. These treatment schedules will be listed in the PPQ Treatment Manual, which will indicate that these changes were made through the immediate process described in paragraph (b) of § 305.3 and that they are subject to change or removal based on public comment. The reasons for these revisions to the treatment manual are described in detail in the treatment evaluation documents (TEDs) we have prepared to support this action. The TEDs may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site or in our reading room (see ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of the reading room). You may also request paper copies of the TEDs by calling or writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please refer to the subject of the TED when requesting copies. After reviewing the comments we receive, we will announce our decision regarding the new treatment schedules described in the TEDs in a subsequent notice, in accordance with paragraph (b)(3) of § 305.3. If we do not receive any comments, or the comments we receive do not change our determination that the proposed changes are effective, we will affirm these changes to the PPQ Treatment Manual and make available a new version of the PPQ Treatment Manual reflecting these changes. If we receive comments that cause us to determine that additional changes need to be made to one or more of the treatment schedules discussed above, we will make available a new version of the PPQ Treatment Manual that reflects the changes. Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7701–7772 and 7781– 7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:57 Mar 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 Done in Washington, DC, this 24th day of March 2014. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. [FR Doc. 2014–06948 Filed 3–27–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–34–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Black Hills National Forest, Bearlodge Ranger District; Wyoming; Bear Lodge Project Forest Service, USDA. Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. AGENCY: ACTION: A Plan of Operation has been submitted by Rare Element Resources, Inc., for the purpose of constructing and operating a rare earth elements mine in the Black Hills National Forest, Bearlodge District in Crook County, Wyoming. The Bear Lodge Project proposed action consists of the Bull Hill Mine, the Miller Creek access road, the power line, and ongoing mineral exploration. The connected action, the Upton hydrometallurgical processing plant and the tailings storage facility are located 45 miles away on private lands outside of Upton in Weston County, Wyoming. Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Black Hills National Forest, will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to determine and analyze the effects of construction and operation of a proposed rare earth elements mine and continued mineral exploration within mining claims held by Rare Element Resources, Inc. on National Forest System (NFS) land. While the Upton Plant is a connected action, there is no federal authorization for private land and therefore will not be analyzed in detail. The Bear Lodge Project proposed action consists of the following components: • Construction and operation of an open-pit mine operation at Bull Hill and associated support facilities, including, but not limited to, a Physical Upgrade (PUG) plant, access route, waste rock facility and sedimentation ponds, located approximately 12 miles (or 6 air miles) north of Sundance, Wyoming; • Access road along County Roads 208, 266 and 8 and NFS Roads 854 and 851. • A 69kV, above ground transmission line crossing approximately 1.5 miles NFS lands, while the remainder of the 13-mile line would be on private and State of Wyoming lands; and SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17497 • The continuation of mineral exploration by drilling, trenching and bulk sampling located on lands surrounding the proposed mine. The Bear Lodge Project connected action includes: • Construction and operation of a hydrometallurgical (Hydromet) plant for further concentration and recovery of the rare earth elements into a rare earth carbonate concentrate product on private land outside the city limits of Upton, Wyoming. This plant is recognized as a connected action, but will not be analyzed in detail in the EIS; DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by April 30, 2014. The draft environmental impact statement is expected January, 2015 and the final environmental impact statement is expected June, 2015. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Jeanette Timm, Project Coordinator, US Forest Service Black Hills National Forest; Bearlodge Ranger District; 101 S. 21st Street; PO Box 680 Sundance, WY 82729–0680; 307–283–1361. Electronic comments, with Bear Lodge Project on the subject line, may also be sent via email to: comments-rocky-mountainblack-hills-bearlodge@fs.fed.us, or via facsimile to 307–283–3727. Information will also be available on the project Web page at the Forest Service Web site: http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/ blackhills/landmanagement/projects. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeanette Timm, Project Coordinator, US Forest Service Black Hills National Forest Bearlodge Ranger District; 101 S. 21st Street; PO Box 680 Sundance, WY 82729–0680; jmtimm@fs.fed.us; 307– 283–1361. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose and Need for Action The purpose of this project is to allow a statutory right in a manner consistent with federal laws and the 1997 Revised Land and Resource Management Plan for the Black Hills National Forest, as Amended by the Phase II Amendment (Forest Plan) to construct a rare earth mine as proposed in the Bear Lodge Project Plan of Operation, modified February 2014, on NFS lands. The statutory right of Rare Element Resources, Inc. to develop a mine on federally administered lands is recognized in the General Mining Law of 1872, as amended. Forest Service E:\FR\FM\28MRN1.SGM 28MRN1 17498 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 60 / Friday, March 28, 2014 / Notices surface management regulations (36 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] part 228) require that all mining activities ‘‘be conducted in a manner that minimizes adverse environmental impacts on National Forest surface resources’’ (36 CFR 228.8). The Forest Service is therefore required to ensure that the Proposed Action is evaluated in accordance to the National Environmental Policy Act and 36 CFR part 228. The proposed mine development is needed to provide a supply of rare earth elements to support today’s evolving technologies. Rare earth elements are the technology metals, used in cell phones, TVs, lasers, and wind turbines. The proposed exploration activities are needed in order to continue evaluating the area for geological resources and possible expansion of the mine in the future. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Proposed Action The proposed action is to approve the Bear Lodge Project Plan of Operation submitted by Rare Element Resources, Inc. to construct a mineable pit, waste rock facility, physical upgrade plant and roads to mine rare earth elements, and continued mineral exploration plan for additional geological resource data. Reasonable and appropriate mitigation measures will also be included. The Bear Lodge Project is located approximately 12 miles (or 6 air miles) north of Sundance, Wyoming and consists of lands administered by the Black Hills National Forest and private lands. The project is located on NFS lands on portions or all of the following: Sections 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30, Township 52 North, Range 63 West, 6th principal meridian (PM). Private lands are in portions or all of the following: Sections 9, 10, 15, and 16, Township 52 North, Range 63 West, 6th principal meridian. The Plan of Operation is summarized as follows: 1. Proposed Bull Hill Mine and Associated Facilities in the Bearlodge Mountains • The proposed mine area; including the open pit, waste rock disposal area, and PUG plant, would consist of about 1,700 acres: 1,060 acres of NFS lands and 640 acres private lands, within a larger analysis project boundary. • The open pit mine would be approximately 232 acres in size within Section 17 of Township 52 North, Range 63 West, 6th PM. From the updated NI 43–101 compliant resource estimate, about 1,043 million pounds of measured and indicated rare earth oxides are VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:57 Mar 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 available to support the mine plan. The mine pit is estimated to be 500 feet deep at its lowest point and approximately 3⁄4-mile wide and 1.5 miles long. • A main access road (Miller Creek Road) to the mine area is proposed along County Roads 208, 266 and 8 and National Forest System Roads 854 and 851. This 13 mile access route is proposed for upgrade to accommodate two-way driving traffic in 12 foot lanes with 4 foot shoulders. The total proposed width of the right-of-way for the access route is 80 feet. For the purposes of safety, the route would be designed with grades under 6 percent. The mining traffic is estimated between 13 to 17 round trips of semi-trucks of processed ore material each day during operation. This estimate does not include worker traffic or delivery supply vehicles. • PUG Plant, located within the Mine Area, is designed to maximize concentration of the rare earth minerals and produce a pre-concentrate using a crushing, screening, and gravity separation process depending on the ore type. The PUG process is designed to concentrate the rare earth-bearing fines and reduce the physical mass. The PUG area (approximately 176 acres) would also include administration buildings for personnel, guard station, maintenance of vehicles, storage areas for blasting materials, and gas and diesel storage tanks for equipment. A 6-foot chain link fence would be constructed around the PUG area. • The waste rock facility would be located on private property in Section 16 of Township 52 North, Range 63 West which is adjacent to the mineable pit and is estimated at 426 acres in size. This area includes a stock pile location for the low grade ore material. An underdrain water collection system would be constructed to control seepage and collect naturally occurring flows from seeps and springs. The collection system would be drained into sediment ponds. A diversion channel would also be constructed for approximately 4,000 feet of Beaver Creek within Section 16 of Township 52 North, Range 63 West. • Conventional truck and excavator open pit mining methods would be utilized. The mineral material to be removed lies within the oxide layer of the soil. There are areas of the mineable pit that contain variable amounts of weathered oxide ores or oxide-carbonate (OxCa) ores, and that contain variable grades of stockwork mineralization adjacent to the higher grade ores. The pit would have a disturbance footprint of approximately 232 acres. Two haul routes from the pit would be constructed with a 100 foot width PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 between the PUG plant and the waste rock facility. A 5-strand barbed wire fence would be constructed around the mine and waste rock facility. • The production rate of the mine is estimated at 500 tons per day of high grade oxides for the first 9 years. As the operation continues, production rates are estimated to increase to 1,000 tons per day. It is estimated the mineable pit would be depleted by year 25. Processing of low grade and other stock piled ores would continue up through year 43. • A production well is proposed to provide water for the PUG processing and dust control. The well would be located on NFS lands. The well would supply water to a water storage tank via a waterline. It is estimated that up to 74 gallons per minute of water would be required to maintain the operation of the PUG plant and mine, and provide potable water to mine workers. • A 69kV, 5-strand transmission line would be constructed above ground to provide power needs for the mine area. The transmission line would require a right-of-way of 100 feet to manage vegetation. Approximately 1.5 miles of the power line crosses NFS lands, while the remainder would be on private and State of Wyoming lands. Voice and data communication are proposed for wireless connections. • It is estimated at full staffing the mine area would employ about 70 workers, including 21 workers in the PUG Plant for the first 9 years and 27 for the remaining years. The mine operation is proposed for a 2 10-hour shifts a day, 5 days a week schedule; while the PUG plant would work an 8hour shift, 5 days a week for the first 9 years and 2 shifts for the remaining years. • For areas of ground disturbance, i.e. roads, mineable pit, waste rock facility; vegetation and topsoil would be removed. Topsoil would be stored in designated stockpiles within the waste rock facility and PUG area for future reclamation. • Approximately 8.71 miles of NFS roads, maintenance level 1, 2, and 3; would be removed from public access. • To manage the surface water runoff in the mine area, diversion channels would be constructed around the pit and waste rock facility and flow into 6 sediment ponds before being naturally discharged into the neighboring creeks. Sediment ponds have been designed for a 10-year frequency, 24 hour duration event and any discharges would be in accordance with State of Wyoming standards. • Reclamation and closure are expected to take place progressively E:\FR\FM\28MRN1.SGM 28MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 60 / Friday, March 28, 2014 / Notices during mining operations. It is assumed that all closure and reclamation (excluding monitoring) would be completed within 2 years following the completion of mining. Monitoring would continue following closure and reclamation until stabilization of soil, vegetation, and water quality have been reached. 2. Continued Exploration Plan Across 7,000 Acres of NFS lands • To continue evaluation of the rare earth resource and other locatable minerals, additional exploration is proposed outside of the 1,700 acre Mine Area. Exploration is proposed by drilling, trenching, and bulk sampling. Site specific exploration plans, including access requirements would be developed and presented to the Forest Service for review. Forest Service would evaluate and approve the exploration plans prior to implementation. • Approximately 2000 drill holes, by rotary or core drilling, are proposed with an average depth of 750 feet. Annually, about 48 holes per year are expected for the exploration program. • Approximately 20,000 linear feet of trenching is proposed over the life of the mine. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 3. Hydromet Plant—Upton, Wyoming (Connected Action) While the Upton Hydromet Plant is proposed as a result of the Bull Hill Mine, it is recognized as a connected action to the project. However, since the Upton Hydromet Plant is located entirely on private lands, there is no Forest Service decision or authorization that can be made and therefore, will not be analyzed in detail for environmental effect analysis in the environmental impact statement. • The Upton Hydromet Plant, located entirely on private land 45 miles south of the proposed Bull Hill Mine, would process the pre-concentrate from the PUG plant through acid leaching followed by additional chemical processing to remove impurities and finally precipitation to produce the final total rare-earth oxides product. The tailings produced from the process would be dewatered, neutralized, and stored in a double lined tailings storage facility (TSF) adjacent to the hydromet plant. • Water for the Upton Hydromet Plant would be provided by a connection to the Upton municipal water system. • It is estimated at full staffing the Upton Hydromet Plant would employ about 50 workers. The Plan of Operations proposes a 24 hours a day, VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:57 Mar 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 7 days a week work schedule for the Upton Hydromet Plant. Lead and Cooperating Agencies The Forest Service will serve as the lead agency for purposes of completing the EIS under the National Environmental Policy Act. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Wyoming, Crook County Natural Resource District and Crook County are cooperating agencies. Responsible Official Black Hills National Forest Supervisor Craig Bobzien, 1019 North 5th Street, Custer, South Dakota 57730–7239. Decisions to be Made The Black Hills National Forest Supervisor will decide whether the proposed action would proceed as proposed or as modified by an alternative. Also, the Forest Supervisor will decide which recommended mitigation measures and monitoring requirements would be applied, and whether a Forest Plan Amendment is required. The need for Forest Plan amendments will be determined through the EIS analysis. Specifically, the Forest Supervisor will approve, or approve with modifications the proposed Plan of Operations and appropriate land use authorizations for the powerline. Decisions will be based on the EIS and any recommendations the Forest Service may have regarding surface management of NFS lands. Permits and licenses required by other agencies are listed below in the Permits or Licenses Required section. Permits or Licenses Required Rare Element Resources, Inc. will secure permits for all mining and reclamation activities as required by law. Several permits will be obtained pending the completion of the analysis and decision. Bear Lodge Project Permitting Summary Prior to implementation of the Bear Lodge Project, permits or licenses would be required from local, State, and Federal agencies in accordance with State and Federal regulations and laws. Below; but not limited to, is a list of the permits or licenses expected with this project. • The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) would be responsible for enforcing mine safety regulations. • Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ): Water Quality Division (WQD), Land Quality Division (LQD), Air Quality Division, PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17499 State Engineering Office (SEO) and Industrial Siting Council (ISC) Division permits. The LQD would be responsible for the issuance of the Permit-to-Mine. The permit application would include both the Bull Hill Mine and the Upton Hydromet Plant. The WQD would be responsible for permits to discharge surface water into nearby streams. The SEO would be responsible for issuing a permit for the production well. • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would be responsible for issuing a permit for Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. • Nuclear Regulatory Commission would be responsible for permitting the Upton Hydromet Plant for possessing source materials. • U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) would be responsible for issuing a permit for storage of explosives. • The Forest Service would be responsible for issuing special use permits for the power line construction and maintenance to Powder River Energy Corp and a Forest Road and Trail Easement to the County for maintenance of the main access route. • Crook County would be responsible for issuing any permits, agreements, and policy with regards to the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, or use of County roads. The County may also have other permits or agreements in conjunction with State of Wyoming regulations. Scoping Process This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of the EIS. The scoping procedure to be used for the EIS will involve notification in the Federal Register; a mailing to potentially interested and affected individuals, groups, Federal, State, tribal, and local government entities requesting input by way of comments, issues and concerns; news releases or legal notices; and public scoping meetings. The Forest Service is seeking information and written comments concerning the proposed action from Federal, State, tribal, and local agencies, individuals, and organizations interested in, or affected by, the Proposed Action or Alternatives. To assist the Forest Service in identifying issues and concerns related to the Proposed Action, scoping comments should be as specific as possible. Through development of this EIS, the Forest Service will analyze environmental impacts of the proposed mining and exploration activities and reasonable alternatives to the proposed action. E:\FR\FM\28MRN1.SGM 28MRN1 17500 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 60 / Friday, March 28, 2014 / Notices Public scoping meetings are planned to be held in Upton and Sundance, Wyoming. The dates, times, and locations of the public scoping meetings will be announced in mailings and public notices issued by the Forest Service. This information will also be posted on the project Web page at the Forest Web site. • Sundance = Crook County Court House, Community Room, 309 Cleveland St., Sundance, WY 82729 • Upton = Upton Community Center, 917 N Hwy 116, Upton, WY 82730 It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times and in such manner that they are useful to the Agency’s preparation of the environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly articulate the reviewer’s concerns and contentions. Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, anonymous comments will not provide the Agency with the ability to provide the respondent with subsequent environmental documents. Dated: March 20, 2014. Dennis L. Jaeger, Deputy Forest Supervisor. [FR Doc. 2014–06916 Filed 3–27–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–11–P COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS Agenda and Notice of Public Meeting of the Massachusetts Advisory Committee Date And Time: Friday, April 11, 2014, 2:00 p.m. [EST]. Place: Via Teleconference. Public Dial-in 1–877–446–3914; Listen Line Code: 3430453. TDD: Dial Federal Relay Service 1– 800–977–8339 give operator the following number: 202–376–7533—or by email at ero@usccr.gov. Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission), and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), that a planning meeting of the Massachusetts Advisory Committee to the Commission will convene via conference call. The purpose of the meeting is project planning to discuss potential speakers for its June briefing mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES DATES: VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:57 Mar 27, 2014 Jkt 232001 on the criminalization of school discipline. The Advisory Committee will also review a summary report on the briefing meeting held on September 25, 2013 in which the Advisory Committee heard from advocates, experts, and government officials on the criminalization of school discipline. The meeting will be conducted via conference call. Members of the public, including persons with hearing impairments, who wish to listen to the conference call should contact the Eastern Regional Office (ERO), ten days in advance of the scheduled meeting, so that a sufficient number of lines may be reserved. You may contact the Eastern Regional Office by phone at 202–376– 7533. Persons with hearing impairments would first call the Eastern Regional Office at the number listed above. Those contacting ERO will be given instructions on how to listen to the conference call. Members of the public who call-in can expect to incur charges for calls they initiate over wireless lines, and the Commission will not refund any incurred charges. Callers will incur no charge for calls they initiate over landline connections to the toll-free telephone number. Members of the public are entitled to submit written comments. The comments must be received in the regional office by Monday, May 12, 2014. Comments may be mailed to the Eastern Regional Office, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 1150, Washington, DC 20425, faxed to (202) 376–7548, or emailed to Melanie Reingardt at ero@usccr.gov. Persons who desire additional information may contact the Eastern Regional Office at 202–376–7533. Records generated from this meeting may be inspected and reproduced at the Eastern Regional Office, as they become available, both before and after the meeting. Persons interested in the work of this advisory committee are advised to go to the Commission’s Web site, www.usccr.gov, or to contact the Eastern Regional Office at the above phone number, email or street address. The meetings will be conducted pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the Commission and FACA. Dated on March 24, 2014. David Mussatt, Acting Chief, Regional Programs Coordination Unit. [FR Doc. 2014–06858 Filed 3–27–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6335–01–P PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B–22–2014] Foreign-Trade Zone 26—Atlanta, Georgia, Application for Additional Production Authority PBR, Inc. d/b/a SKAPS Industries, (Non-Woven Geotextiles), Athens, Georgia Correction In notice document 2014–06248, appearing on pages 15725–15726, in the issue of Friday, March 21, 2014, make the following correction: On page 15725, in the third column, in the last paragraph, on the last line, ‘‘May 20, 2014.’’ should read ‘‘June 4, 2014.’’ [FR Doc. C1–2014–06248 Filed 3–27–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505–01–D DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B–28–2014] Foreign-Trade Zone 107—Des Moines, Iowa, Expansion of Subzone 107A, Winnebago Industries, Inc., Lake Mills, Iowa An application has been submitted to the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board by the Iowa Foreign Trade Zone Corporation, grantee of FTZ 107, requesting an expansion of Subzone 107A on behalf of Winnebago Industries, Inc. (Winnebago), to include a site in Lake Mills, Iowa. The application was submitted pursuant to the provisions of the Foreign-Trade Zones Act, as amended (19 U.S.C. 81a– 81u), and the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR part 400). It was formally docketed on March 24, 2014. Subzone 107A was approved on September 4, 1984 (Board Order 273, 49 FR 3597l, 9–13–1984), and expanded on January 17, 2008 (Board Order 1539, 73 FR 5175, 1–29–2008). The subzone currently consists of two sites: Site 1 (237.32 acres)—605 W. Crystal Lake Road in Forest City; and, Site 2 (21 acres)—1200 Rove Avenue, Charles City. The current request would add a site (7.49 acres) located at 808 N. Lake Street in Lake Mills, to the subzone. No additional authorization for production activity has been requested at this time. In accordance with the FTZ Board’s regulations, Elizabeth Whiteman of the FTZ Staff is designated examiner to review the application and make recommendations to the FTZ Board. E:\FR\FM\28MRN1.SGM 28MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 60 (Friday, March 28, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17497-17500]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-06916]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Forest Service


Black Hills National Forest, Bearlodge Ranger District; Wyoming; 
Bear Lodge Project

AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

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SUMMARY: A Plan of Operation has been submitted by Rare Element 
Resources, Inc., for the purpose of constructing and operating a rare 
earth elements mine in the Black Hills National Forest, Bearlodge 
District in Crook County, Wyoming. The Bear Lodge Project proposed 
action consists of the Bull Hill Mine, the Miller Creek access road, 
the power line, and ongoing mineral exploration. The connected action, 
the Upton hydrometallurgical processing plant and the tailings storage 
facility are located 45 miles away on private lands outside of Upton in 
Weston County, Wyoming. Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Department 
of Agriculture, Forest Service, Black Hills National Forest, will 
prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to determine and 
analyze the effects of construction and operation of a proposed rare 
earth elements mine and continued mineral exploration within mining 
claims held by Rare Element Resources, Inc. on National Forest System 
(NFS) land. While the Upton Plant is a connected action, there is no 
federal authorization for private land and therefore will not be 
analyzed in detail.
    The Bear Lodge Project proposed action consists of the following 
components:
     Construction and operation of an open-pit mine operation 
at Bull Hill and associated support facilities, including, but not 
limited to, a Physical Upgrade (PUG) plant, access route, waste rock 
facility and sedimentation ponds, located approximately 12 miles (or 6 
air miles) north of Sundance, Wyoming;
     Access road along County Roads 208, 266 and 8 and NFS 
Roads 854 and 851.
     A 69kV, above ground transmission line crossing 
approximately 1.5 miles NFS lands, while the remainder of the 13-mile 
line would be on private and State of Wyoming lands; and
     The continuation of mineral exploration by drilling, 
trenching and bulk sampling located on lands surrounding the proposed 
mine.
    The Bear Lodge Project connected action includes:
     Construction and operation of a hydrometallurgical 
(Hydromet) plant for further concentration and recovery of the rare 
earth elements into a rare earth carbonate concentrate product on 
private land outside the city limits of Upton, Wyoming. This plant is 
recognized as a connected action, but will not be analyzed in detail in 
the EIS;

DATES: Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received 
by April 30, 2014. The draft environmental impact statement is expected 
January, 2015 and the final environmental impact statement is expected 
June, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Jeanette Timm, Project Coordinator, 
US Forest Service Black Hills National Forest; Bearlodge Ranger 
District; 101 S. 21st Street; PO Box 680 Sundance, WY 82729-0680; 307-
283-1361. Electronic comments, with Bear Lodge Project on the subject 
line, may also be sent via email to: comments-rocky-mountain-black-hills-bearlodge@fs.fed.us, or via facsimile to 307-283-3727. 
Information will also be available on the project Web page at the 
Forest Service Web site: http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/blackhills/landmanagement/projects.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeanette Timm, Project Coordinator, US 
Forest Service Black Hills National Forest Bearlodge Ranger District; 
101 S. 21st Street; PO Box 680 Sundance, WY 82729-0680; 
jmtimm@fs.fed.us; 307-283-1361.
    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) 
may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 
between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Purpose and Need for Action

    The purpose of this project is to allow a statutory right in a 
manner consistent with federal laws and the 1997 Revised Land and 
Resource Management Plan for the Black Hills National Forest, as 
Amended by the Phase II Amendment (Forest Plan) to construct a rare 
earth mine as proposed in the Bear Lodge Project Plan of Operation, 
modified February 2014, on NFS lands. The statutory right of Rare 
Element Resources, Inc. to develop a mine on federally administered 
lands is recognized in the General Mining Law of 1872, as amended. 
Forest Service

[[Page 17498]]

surface management regulations (36 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 
part 228) require that all mining activities ``be conducted in a manner 
that minimizes adverse environmental impacts on National Forest surface 
resources'' (36 CFR 228.8). The Forest Service is therefore required to 
ensure that the Proposed Action is evaluated in accordance to the 
National Environmental Policy Act and 36 CFR part 228.
    The proposed mine development is needed to provide a supply of rare 
earth elements to support today's evolving technologies. Rare earth 
elements are the technology metals, used in cell phones, TVs, lasers, 
and wind turbines. The proposed exploration activities are needed in 
order to continue evaluating the area for geological resources and 
possible expansion of the mine in the future.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action is to approve the Bear Lodge Project Plan of 
Operation submitted by Rare Element Resources, Inc. to construct a 
mineable pit, waste rock facility, physical upgrade plant and roads to 
mine rare earth elements, and continued mineral exploration plan for 
additional geological resource data. Reasonable and appropriate 
mitigation measures will also be included.
    The Bear Lodge Project is located approximately 12 miles (or 6 air 
miles) north of Sundance, Wyoming and consists of lands administered by 
the Black Hills National Forest and private lands. The project is 
located on NFS lands on portions or all of the following: Sections 5, 
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 
30, Township 52 North, Range 63 West, 6th principal meridian (PM). 
Private lands are in portions or all of the following: Sections 9, 10, 
15, and 16, Township 52 North, Range 63 West, 6th principal meridian.
    The Plan of Operation is summarized as follows:

1. Proposed Bull Hill Mine and Associated Facilities in the Bearlodge 
Mountains

     The proposed mine area; including the open pit, waste rock 
disposal area, and PUG plant, would consist of about 1,700 acres: 1,060 
acres of NFS lands and 640 acres private lands, within a larger 
analysis project boundary.
     The open pit mine would be approximately 232 acres in size 
within Section 17 of Township 52 North, Range 63 West, 6th PM. From the 
updated NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate, about 1,043 million 
pounds of measured and indicated rare earth oxides are available to 
support the mine plan. The mine pit is estimated to be 500 feet deep at 
its lowest point and approximately \3/4\-mile wide and 1.5 miles long.
     A main access road (Miller Creek Road) to the mine area is 
proposed along County Roads 208, 266 and 8 and National Forest System 
Roads 854 and 851. This 13 mile access route is proposed for upgrade to 
accommodate two-way driving traffic in 12 foot lanes with 4 foot 
shoulders. The total proposed width of the right-of-way for the access 
route is 80 feet. For the purposes of safety, the route would be 
designed with grades under 6 percent. The mining traffic is estimated 
between 13 to 17 round trips of semi-trucks of processed ore material 
each day during operation. This estimate does not include worker 
traffic or delivery supply vehicles.
     PUG Plant, located within the Mine Area, is designed to 
maximize concentration of the rare earth minerals and produce a pre-
concentrate using a crushing, screening, and gravity separation process 
depending on the ore type. The PUG process is designed to concentrate 
the rare earth-bearing fines and reduce the physical mass. The PUG area 
(approximately 176 acres) would also include administration buildings 
for personnel, guard station, maintenance of vehicles, storage areas 
for blasting materials, and gas and diesel storage tanks for equipment. 
A 6-foot chain link fence would be constructed around the PUG area.
     The waste rock facility would be located on private 
property in Section 16 of Township 52 North, Range 63 West which is 
adjacent to the mineable pit and is estimated at 426 acres in size. 
This area includes a stock pile location for the low grade ore 
material. An underdrain water collection system would be constructed to 
control seepage and collect naturally occurring flows from seeps and 
springs. The collection system would be drained into sediment ponds. A 
diversion channel would also be constructed for approximately 4,000 
feet of Beaver Creek within Section 16 of Township 52 North, Range 63 
West.
     Conventional truck and excavator open pit mining methods 
would be utilized. The mineral material to be removed lies within the 
oxide layer of the soil. There are areas of the mineable pit that 
contain variable amounts of weathered oxide ores or oxide-carbonate 
(OxCa) ores, and that contain variable grades of stockwork 
mineralization adjacent to the higher grade ores. The pit would have a 
disturbance footprint of approximately 232 acres. Two haul routes from 
the pit would be constructed with a 100 foot width between the PUG 
plant and the waste rock facility. A 5-strand barbed wire fence would 
be constructed around the mine and waste rock facility.
     The production rate of the mine is estimated at 500 tons 
per day of high grade oxides for the first 9 years. As the operation 
continues, production rates are estimated to increase to 1,000 tons per 
day. It is estimated the mineable pit would be depleted by year 25. 
Processing of low grade and other stock piled ores would continue up 
through year 43.
     A production well is proposed to provide water for the PUG 
processing and dust control. The well would be located on NFS lands. 
The well would supply water to a water storage tank via a waterline. It 
is estimated that up to 74 gallons per minute of water would be 
required to maintain the operation of the PUG plant and mine, and 
provide potable water to mine workers.
     A 69kV, 5-strand transmission line would be constructed 
above ground to provide power needs for the mine area. The transmission 
line would require a right-of-way of 100 feet to manage vegetation. 
Approximately 1.5 miles of the power line crosses NFS lands, while the 
remainder would be on private and State of Wyoming lands. Voice and 
data communication are proposed for wireless connections.
     It is estimated at full staffing the mine area would 
employ about 70 workers, including 21 workers in the PUG Plant for the 
first 9 years and 27 for the remaining years. The mine operation is 
proposed for a 2 10-hour shifts a day, 5 days a week schedule; while 
the PUG plant would work an 8-hour shift, 5 days a week for the first 9 
years and 2 shifts for the remaining years.
     For areas of ground disturbance, i.e. roads, mineable pit, 
waste rock facility; vegetation and topsoil would be removed. Topsoil 
would be stored in designated stockpiles within the waste rock facility 
and PUG area for future reclamation.
     Approximately 8.71 miles of NFS roads, maintenance level 
1, 2, and 3; would be removed from public access.
     To manage the surface water runoff in the mine area, 
diversion channels would be constructed around the pit and waste rock 
facility and flow into 6 sediment ponds before being naturally 
discharged into the neighboring creeks. Sediment ponds have been 
designed for a 10-year frequency, 24 hour duration event and any 
discharges would be in accordance with State of Wyoming standards.
     Reclamation and closure are expected to take place 
progressively

[[Page 17499]]

during mining operations. It is assumed that all closure and 
reclamation (excluding monitoring) would be completed within 2 years 
following the completion of mining. Monitoring would continue following 
closure and reclamation until stabilization of soil, vegetation, and 
water quality have been reached.

2. Continued Exploration Plan Across 7,000 Acres of NFS lands

     To continue evaluation of the rare earth resource and 
other locatable minerals, additional exploration is proposed outside of 
the 1,700 acre Mine Area. Exploration is proposed by drilling, 
trenching, and bulk sampling. Site specific exploration plans, 
including access requirements would be developed and presented to the 
Forest Service for review. Forest Service would evaluate and approve 
the exploration plans prior to implementation.
     Approximately 2000 drill holes, by rotary or core 
drilling, are proposed with an average depth of 750 feet. Annually, 
about 48 holes per year are expected for the exploration program.
     Approximately 20,000 linear feet of trenching is proposed 
over the life of the mine.

3. Hydromet Plant--Upton, Wyoming (Connected Action)

    While the Upton Hydromet Plant is proposed as a result of the Bull 
Hill Mine, it is recognized as a connected action to the project. 
However, since the Upton Hydromet Plant is located entirely on private 
lands, there is no Forest Service decision or authorization that can be 
made and therefore, will not be analyzed in detail for environmental 
effect analysis in the environmental impact statement.
     The Upton Hydromet Plant, located entirely on private land 
45 miles south of the proposed Bull Hill Mine, would process the pre-
concentrate from the PUG plant through acid leaching followed by 
additional chemical processing to remove impurities and finally 
precipitation to produce the final total rare-earth oxides product. The 
tailings produced from the process would be dewatered, neutralized, and 
stored in a double lined tailings storage facility (TSF) adjacent to 
the hydromet plant.
     Water for the Upton Hydromet Plant would be provided by a 
connection to the Upton municipal water system.
     It is estimated at full staffing the Upton Hydromet Plant 
would employ about 50 workers. The Plan of Operations proposes a 24 
hours a day, 7 days a week work schedule for the Upton Hydromet Plant.

Lead and Cooperating Agencies

    The Forest Service will serve as the lead agency for purposes of 
completing the EIS under the National Environmental Policy Act. The 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Wyoming, Crook County 
Natural Resource District and Crook County are cooperating agencies.

Responsible Official

    Black Hills National Forest Supervisor Craig Bobzien, 1019 North 
5th Street, Custer, South Dakota 57730-7239.

Decisions to be Made

    The Black Hills National Forest Supervisor will decide whether the 
proposed action would proceed as proposed or as modified by an 
alternative. Also, the Forest Supervisor will decide which recommended 
mitigation measures and monitoring requirements would be applied, and 
whether a Forest Plan Amendment is required. The need for Forest Plan 
amendments will be determined through the EIS analysis. Specifically, 
the Forest Supervisor will approve, or approve with modifications the 
proposed Plan of Operations and appropriate land use authorizations for 
the powerline. Decisions will be based on the EIS and any 
recommendations the Forest Service may have regarding surface 
management of NFS lands.
    Permits and licenses required by other agencies are listed below in 
the Permits or Licenses Required section.

Permits or Licenses Required

    Rare Element Resources, Inc. will secure permits for all mining and 
reclamation activities as required by law. Several permits will be 
obtained pending the completion of the analysis and decision.

Bear Lodge Project Permitting Summary

    Prior to implementation of the Bear Lodge Project, permits or 
licenses would be required from local, State, and Federal agencies in 
accordance with State and Federal regulations and laws. Below; but not 
limited to, is a list of the permits or licenses expected with this 
project.
     The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) would be 
responsible for enforcing mine safety regulations.
     Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ): Water 
Quality Division (WQD), Land Quality Division (LQD), Air Quality 
Division, State Engineering Office (SEO) and Industrial Siting Council 
(ISC) Division permits. The LQD would be responsible for the issuance 
of the Permit-to-Mine. The permit application would include both the 
Bull Hill Mine and the Upton Hydromet Plant. The WQD would be 
responsible for permits to discharge surface water into nearby streams. 
The SEO would be responsible for issuing a permit for the production 
well.
     U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would be responsible for 
issuing a permit for Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.
     Nuclear Regulatory Commission would be responsible for 
permitting the Upton Hydromet Plant for possessing source materials.
     U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) would 
be responsible for issuing a permit for storage of explosives.
     The Forest Service would be responsible for issuing 
special use permits for the power line construction and maintenance to 
Powder River Energy Corp and a Forest Road and Trail Easement to the 
County for maintenance of the main access route.
     Crook County would be responsible for issuing any permits, 
agreements, and policy with regards to the construction, 
reconstruction, maintenance, or use of County roads. The County may 
also have other permits or agreements in conjunction with State of 
Wyoming regulations.

Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the EIS. The scoping procedure to be used for the 
EIS will involve notification in the Federal Register; a mailing to 
potentially interested and affected individuals, groups, Federal, 
State, tribal, and local government entities requesting input by way of 
comments, issues and concerns; news releases or legal notices; and 
public scoping meetings. The Forest Service is seeking information and 
written comments concerning the proposed action from Federal, State, 
tribal, and local agencies, individuals, and organizations interested 
in, or affected by, the Proposed Action or Alternatives. To assist the 
Forest Service in identifying issues and concerns related to the 
Proposed Action, scoping comments should be as specific as possible.
    Through development of this EIS, the Forest Service will analyze 
environmental impacts of the proposed mining and exploration activities 
and reasonable alternatives to the proposed action.

[[Page 17500]]

    Public scoping meetings are planned to be held in Upton and 
Sundance, Wyoming. The dates, times, and locations of the public 
scoping meetings will be announced in mailings and public notices 
issued by the Forest Service. This information will also be posted on 
the project Web page at the Forest Web site.

 Sundance = Crook County Court House, Community Room, 309 
Cleveland St., Sundance, WY 82729
 Upton = Upton Community Center, 917 N Hwy 116, Upton, WY 82730

    It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times 
and in such manner that they are useful to the Agency's preparation of 
the environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be 
provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly 
articulate the reviewer's concerns and contentions.
    Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names 
and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record 
for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be 
accepted and considered; however, anonymous comments will not provide 
the Agency with the ability to provide the respondent with subsequent 
environmental documents.

    Dated: March 20, 2014.
Dennis L. Jaeger,
Deputy Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 2014-06916 Filed 3-27-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-11-P