Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Nevada Gold Mines LLC's Goldrush Mine Project, Lander and Eureka Counties, Nevada, 43674-43677 [2021-17040]

Download as PDF jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 43674 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 151 / Tuesday, August 10, 2021 / Notices • U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Teri Barnett, Departmental Privacy Officer, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Room 7112, Washington, DC 20240. Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number [DOI–2020–0017]. All comments received will be posted without change to https:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to https:// www.regulations.gov. You should be aware your entire comment including your personally identifiable information, such as your address, phone number, email address, or any other personal information in your comment, may be made publicly available at any time. While you may request to withhold your personally identifiable information from public review, we cannot guarantee we will be able to do so. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cozenja Berry, Associate Privacy Officer, Office of Enterprise Information, U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Room 4A209, Mail Stop 159, Reston, VA 20192, privacy@ usgs.gov or (703) 648–7062. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 5 U.S.C. 552a, DOI is rescinding the INTERIOR/USGS–01, National Water Information System: NWIS, SORN as this system of records no longer meets the statutory definition under the Privacy Act. This rescindment complies with the Privacy Act of 1974, and the Office of Management and Budget Circular A–108, Federal Agency Responsibilities for Review, Reporting, and Publication under the Privacy Act. An assessment of NWIS records by the USGS Associate Privacy Officer revealed that the records contained therein are not stored, maintained or retrieved by use of an individual’s personal identifier. The USGS Water Mission Area utilizes NWIS to preserve a repository of hydrologic data that is collected as part of cooperative hydrologic studies nation-wide. The records include contact information for individuals or groups that own or have physical control of access sites (site owners) where USGS collects groundwater data. Site owner contact information stored in NWIS includes name, address, phone number, and when provided an email address. The records in NWIS are saved and retrieved by use of the site identification data; records cannot be retrieved by use of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:05 Aug 09, 2021 Jkt 253001 site owner’s personal information. Indexing in NWIS is by the site name and number, with the site name being the name given to the body of water and the number a unique identifier assigned to that specific location (example Mississippi River near Bemidji, MN, 05200430). To narrow searches, other site identification data or attributes may be used to retrieve records (state/ territory, regional water center, geographic coordinates, water body type, altitude, drainage zone, depth, or aquifer code/name). Controls are in place to ensure contact information is only accessible to authorized USGS personnel; it is not published or released to the public. Rescindment of this notice has no adverse impact on individual privacy of the site owners. The affected records will continue to be maintained under their disposition schedules as approved by the National Archives and Records Administration. This rescindment will promote the overall streamlining and management of DOI Privacy Act systems of records. Members of the public can access hydrological historical data via the NWIS web page (https:// help.waterdata.usgs.gov/) or may request NWIS records under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (https://www.usgs.gov/ about/organization/science-support/ foia). This notice hereby rescinds INTERIOR/USGS–01, National Water Information System: NWIS. SYSTEM NAME AND NUMBER: INTERIOR/USGS–01, National Water Information System: NWIS. HISTORY: 73 FR 54425 (September 19, 2008); modification published at 74 FR 23430 (May 19, 2009). Teri Barnett, Departmental Privacy Officer,Department of the Interior. [FR Doc. 2021–16978 Filed 8–9–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4338–11–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLNVB01000.L19900000.EX0000.21X.MO: 4500152487] Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Nevada Gold Mines LLC’s Goldrush Mine Project, Lander and Eureka Counties, Nevada AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior. PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement. ACTION: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will consider authorizing the proposed Nevada Gold Mines LLC (NGM) Goldrush Mine Project in Lander and Eureka Counties, Nevada. DATES: The BLM requests comments concerning the scope of the analysis and identification of relevant information, studies, and analyses. All comments must be received by September 9, 2021. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is scheduled for publication in December 2021, and the Final EIS is scheduled for publication in April 2022, with a Record of Decision in May 2022. The BLM will announce dates of scoping meetings at least 15 days in advance of the meeting on the BLM National ePlanning website, https://go.usa.gov/xsVs8. Scoping meetings will be held online. ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Goldrush Mine EIS c/o BLM Mount Lewis Field Office, 50 Bastian Road, Battle Mountain, NV 89820. Comments may also be sent via email to sdistel@ blm.gov. Submit comments online at the website https://go.usa.gov/xsVs8. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Distel, Project Manager, telephone: (775) 635–4093; address: 50 Bastian Road, Battle Mountain, Nevada 89820; email: sdistel@blm.gov. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1–800–877–8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Purpose and Need for the Proposed Action The BLM’s purpose for the action is to respond to NGM’s proposal as described in the proposed Plan of Operations and to analyze the environmental effects associated with the proponent’s Proposed Action and alternatives to the Proposed Action. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) mandates that the BLM evaluate the effects of the Proposed Action and develop alternatives when necessary to lessen any effects to environmental resources. The BLM’s need for the action is established by its responsibilities under Section 302 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and the BLM Surface Management Regulations at 43 CFR 3809 to respond to a proposed Plan of Operations and ensure that operations prevent unnecessary or undue degradation of E:\FR\FM\10AUN1.SGM 10AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 151 / Tuesday, August 10, 2021 / Notices jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES public lands. NGM’s purpose and need is to develop the mineral resource. Preliminary Proposed Action and Alternatives NGM is proposing to construct, operate, close, and reclaim a new underground mining project in the Cortez Mining District. The proposed Goldrush Mine is located approximately 30 miles south of Beowawe, Nevada, in Lander and Eureka Counties, Nevada. The proposed Goldrush Mine Plan of Operations boundary would encompass approximately 19,895 acres, of which 772 acres would be on private land controlled by NGM and 19,123 acres on public lands administered by the BLM Battle Mountain District, Mount Lewis Field Office and BLM Elko District, Tuscarora Field Office. The proposed Goldrush Mine would include approximately 1,717 acres of new proposed disturbance and approximately 1,037 acres of existing/ authorized and reclassified disturbance, for a total disturbance of approximately 2,754 acres. The proposed underground mining and surface support activities for the Goldrush Mine would include: (1) A materials handling system for transporting ore and waste rock from the underground workings to the surface and transporting aggregate and supplies to the underground workings and surface backfill plant; (2) a dewatering system, including wells, pipelines and pipeline corridors, a water treatment plant (WTP), rapid infiltration basins (RIBs), and a multi-use shop; (3) a contact water pipeline; (4) ventilation raises; (5) a backfill aggregate paste plant and crusher; (6) a shotcrete/ cemented rock fill (CRF) plant; (7) two new power lines, including a 120kilovolt (kV) power line with two switching stations, and a 13.8-kV power line; (8) new ancillary surface facilities, including bulk material storage, access roads, power supply, stormwater controls, laydown and parking areas, lighting, growth media stockpiles, dewatering and monitoring wells, gravel pit expansion, potable water and septic systems, dry facilities (change rooms), service boreholes for electrical and fuel delivery, fire suppression system, water truck refill stations, emergency helipads, fencing, and modular information technology (IT) and communications buildings; (9) dual use of existing facilities within the nearby Cortez Mine Plan boundary; and (10) continued surface and underground exploration activities. A fleet of over-the-road haul truck and trailer units would be used for ore transportation to either the NGM- VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:05 Aug 09, 2021 Jkt 253001 operated Goldstrike or Gold Quarry offsite processing facilities. The Proposed Action would result in changes to the Horse Canyon Mine Plan (NVN– 066896), Horse Canyon/Cortez Unified Exploration Project (HC/CUEP) Plan (NVN–066621), West Pine Valley Exploration Plan (NVN–077213), and Cortez Mine Plan (NVN–067575). The Goldrush Mine would operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year for approximately 24 years. The work force would be approximately 570 persons, which includes both NGM employees and contractors. The construction work force would be approximately 495 workers. Reclamation of disturbed areas resulting from mining operations would be completed in accordance with BLM and Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) regulations. Concurrent reclamation would take place where practicable and safe and when an area is no longer needed. Reclamation activities at the end of mining are anticipated to take approximately 36 months. In addition to the No Action and the Proposed Action, other alternatives may be identified through scoping comments or through analysis. Summary of Expected Impacts The BLM has identified the following preliminary resource concerns associated with the Project: (1) Properties of Cultural and Religious Importance (PCRI) and Native American concerns. Up to 50 National Register of Historic Places-eligible or unevaluated cultural properties would be physically altered, resulting in an adverse effect to these cultural sites. Adverse impacts would occur to approximately 392 acres of the Horse Canyon PCRI. Vegetation communities important to Native American traditional values may be impacted by the Proposed Action. (2) Impacts to wildlife resources. Potential impacts include habitat change, habitat loss, alterations to water sources, fatalities as a result of collisions with vehicles, displacement due to human activity and disturbance, and impediments to movement through corridors. (3) Potential impacts to BLM sensitive species including greater sagegrouse and golden eagles. For greater sage-grouse, the Proposed Action would disturb approximately 805 acres of Priority Habitat Management Areas, 14 acres of General Habitat Management Areas, 618 acres of Other Habitat Management Areas, and 79 acres of Non-Habitat Management Areas. Exploration activities could result in up to 210 acres of additional disturbance to any of the greater sage-grouse habitat PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 43675 types. For golden eagles, the Proposed Action would result in the removal of 1,094 acres of foraging habitat. Additionally, eight golden eagle territories occur within one mile of the proposed Project disturbance area. (4) Potential impacts to visual resources. The Proposed Action would add form, line, texture, and color to the existing landscape. (5) Potential impacts to air quality. Modeling has determined that impacts from the Proposed Action would not exceed National Ambient Air Quality Standards for PM10, PM2.5, CO, NOX, and SO2. Total facility-wide Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) are estimated to be 1.8 tons per year (tpy), with 0.5 tpy of the highest single HAP, arsenic. The facility-wide HAP emissions are within U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) thresholds. Greenhouse gas emissions, including off-site ore transport, are estimated to be 96,624 tpy CO2e. Mercury emissions are estimated to be 0.014 tpy. (6) Potential impacts to surface and groundwater resources. Potential impacts to seep, spring, and stream flow may occur from proposed dewatering operations if the source of the water is connected to the regional aquifer. Dewatering operations would also result in a lowering of the local groundwater table. Sedimentation and erosion may also occur due to Projectrelated surface disturbance. (7) Potential impacts to traffic. The Proposed Action would result in two ore hauling trucks per hour on the transportation route, as well as 89 trips each shift for employees and contractors during construction and up to 71 trips during operations along the transportation route. Changes in the level of service at some locations along the transportation route may occur, but there would be no degrading of the level of service below acceptable levels. (8) Potential impacts to livestock grazing. The Proposed Action would result in new surface disturbance of 1,717 acres, which would impact forage utilized by livestock. Approximately 119 Animal Unit Months (AUMs) would be impacted in the Carico Lake, Grass Valley, JD, and South Buckhorn allotments. The 210 acres of proposed exploration disturbance may result in an impact ranging from 9 to 19 AUMs, depending on the allotment in which the activities occur. (9) Potential impacts on vegetation communities and soil productivity. The Proposed Action would result in disturbance to soil and removal of vegetation on 1,717 acres. (10) Potential for subsidence. In the post-closure period, underground mine induced rock collapse may occur over open workings and result in the E:\FR\FM\10AUN1.SGM 10AUN1 43676 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 151 / Tuesday, August 10, 2021 / Notices development of localized ground deformation/subsidence type features, which are unlikely to impact surface features due to the strength and thickness of the overlying rock, and any surface expression is anticipated to be local to the immediate mining area and not propagate extensively. Additionally, at the end of mining, model-predicted subsidence from dewatering may cause a four-inch contour of land with the potential for development of fissures. (11) Reclamation to reduce permanent disturbance. Approximately 2,232 acres of total surface disturbance would be reclaimed and would return to postreclamation land uses, including open space, grazing, dispersed recreation, and wildlife habitat, while 523 acres would remain permanently altered. The proposed project has the potential to affect golden eagle nests and territories; therefore, NGM has prepared an Eagle Conservation Plan (ECP) and has requested an incidental take permit for golden eagles in the area in which NGM proposes to conduct mining operations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is considering the applicant’s request for incidental take, as allowed under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act) for the purpose of resource development and recovery operations. The USFWS will evaluate the applicant’s ECP, which describes NGM’s request for incidental take authorization for impacts resulting from their proposed mining operations. The DEIS will analyze any potential effects and impacts of the proposed project on golden eagles and may also analyze impacts and develop alternatives associated with the USFWS eagle take permit decision under the Eagle Act. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Anticipated Permits and Authorizations The BLM anticipates that the following permits and authorizations will be required for the mine: • Air Quality Operating Permit: NDEP (Bureau of Air Pollution Control) • Eagle Take Permit: USFWS • Explosives Permit: U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives • General Stormwater Discharge Permit: NDEP (Bureau of Water Pollution Control) • Hazardous Materials Storage Permit: Nevada Department of Public Safety, State Fire Marshall, and State Emergency Response Commission • Industrial Artificial Pond Permit: Nevada Department of Wildlife (Habitat Division) VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:05 Aug 09, 2021 Jkt 253001 • Jurisdictional Delineation Report Concurrence: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers • Liquefied Petroleum Gas License: Nevada Board of the Regulation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Notification of Commencement of Operations MSHA • Permit to Appropriate Water: Nevada Division of Water Resources • Permit to Operate: Nevada Division of Minerals • Plan of Operations/Record of Decision: BLM • Potable Water System Permit: Nevada Bureau of Safe Drinking Water • Radioactive Materials License: Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health • Reclamation Permit and Reclamation Cost Determination: NDEP (Bureau of Mining Regulation and Reclamation) • Section 401 Certification: NDEP (Bureau of Water Pollution Control) • Septic Treatment Permit, Holding Tank Permit, Sewage Disposal System Permit: NDEP (Bureau of Water Pollution Control) • Water Pollution Control Permit: NDEP (Bureau of Mining Regulation and Reclamation) Schedule for the Decision-Making Process The BLM anticipates a decision in May of 2022. Public Scoping Process This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of the environmental impact statement. Scoping meetings will be virtual. An announcement about when and how to access the virtual meetings online will be posted on the BLM’s project website. The purpose of public scoping is to identify relevant issues that will influence the scope of the environmental analysis, including alternatives, and guide the process for developing the environmental impact statement. The BLM will use and coordinate the NEPA public scoping to help fulfill the public involvement requirements under the National Historic Preservation Act (54 U.S.C. 306108) as provided in 36 CFR 800.2(d)(3). The information about historic and cultural resources within the area potentially affected by the proposed action will assist the BLM in identifying and evaluating impacts to such resources. The BLM will conduct government-togovernment consultation with Indian Tribes in accordance with Executive Order 13175 and other policies. PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Agencies will give due consideration to Tribal concerns, including impacts on Indian trust assets and treaty rights and potential impacts to cultural resources. The BLM invites Federal, State, and local agencies, along with Tribes and other stakeholders that may be interested in or affected by the proposed Goldrush Mine to participate in scoping. Agencies with regulatory authority or special expertise, if eligible, may request or be requested by the BLM to participate in the development of the environmental analysis as a cooperating agency. Request for Identification of Potential Alternatives, Information, and Analyses Relevant to the Proposed Action The BLM requests assistance with identifying potential alternatives to the Proposed Action to be considered. As alternatives should resolve a problem with the Proposed Action, please indicate the purpose of the suggested alternative. The BLM also requests that potential impacts that should be analyzed be identified. Impacts should be a result of the action; therefore, please identify the activity and the potential impact that should be analyzed. Information that reviewers have that would assist in the development of alternatives or analysis of resources issues is also helpful. Lead and Cooperating Agencies The BLM is the lead agency. Cooperating agencies include the USFWS, the USEPA, the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the Nevada Department of Transportation, and Eureka County. Decision Maker The BLM Battle Mountain District Manager, Doug Furtado, is the responsible official. Nature of Decision To Be Made The BLM will issue a decision on the proposed Plan of Operations for the Goldrush mine project. 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 E:\FR\FM\10AUN1.SGM 10AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 151 / Tuesday, August 10, 2021 / Notices [FR Doc. 2021–17040 Filed 8–9–21; 8:45 am] 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. Nominations submitted by State or Tribal Historic Preservation Officers: BILLING CODE 4310–HC–P ILLINOIS anonymously will also be accepted and considered. Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7. Bradlee A. Matthews, Acting Field Manager, Mount Lewis Field Office, Battle Mountain District. Bureau County DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Oakland Cemetery Historic District, 1013 Park Ave. West, Princeton, SG100006864 National Park Service Cook County [NPS–WASO–NRNHL–DTS#–32381; PPWOCRADI0, PCU00RP14.R50000] Ravisloe Country Club, 18231 Park Ave., Homewood, SG100006865 National Register of Historic Places; Notification of Pending Nominations and Related Actions Kankakee County Pope Brace Company Building, 197 South West Ave., Kankakee, SG100006866 National Park Service, Interior. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: The National Park Service is soliciting electronic comments on the significance of properties nominated before July 24, 2021, for listing or related actions in the National Register of Historic Places. DATES: Comments should be submitted electronically by August 25, 2021. ADDRESSES: Comments are encouraged to be submitted electronically to National_Register_Submissions@ nps.gov with the subject line ‘‘Public Comment on <property or proposed district name, (County) State>.’’ If you have no access to email you may send them via U.S. Postal Service and all other carriers to the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, 1849 C Street NW, MS 7228, Washington, DC 20240. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sherry A. Frear, Chief, National Register of Historic Places/National Historic Landmarks Program, 1849 C Street NW, MS 7228, Washington, DC 20240, sherry_frear@nps.gov, 202–913–3763. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The properties listed in this notice are being considered for listing or related actions in the National Register of Historic Places. Nominations for their consideration were received by the National Park Service before July 24, 2021. Pursuant to Section 60.13 of 36 CFR part 60, comments are being accepted concerning the significance of the nominated properties under the National Register criteria for evaluation. 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. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:05 Aug 09, 2021 Jkt 253001 McLean County Fairview Sanatorium, 905 North Main St., Normal, SG100006867 Winnebago County Witwer House, 504 North 1st St., Rockford, SG100006872 MASSACHUSETTS Worcester County W.S. Reed Toy Company-Wachusett Shirt Company Historic District 41–45, Summer St., Leominster, SG100006863 43677 VIRGINIA Brunswick County Lawrenceville Historic District (Additional Documentation) Roughly bounded by West 6th Ave., Maria St., Lawrenceville townline, Rose Cr., and Thomas St., Lawrenceville vicinity, AD00000313 Nominations submitted by Federal Preservation Officers: The State Historic Preservation Officer reviewed the following nominations and responded to the Federal Preservation Officer within 45 days of receipt of the nominations and supports listing the properties in the National Register of Historic Places. GUAM Guam County Da˚di Beach Japanese Bunker, Address Restricted, Santa Rita vicinity, SG100006869 Dobo Spring Latte Set Complex, Address Restricted, Santa Rita vicinity, SG100006870 Maulap River Complex Site, Address Restricted, Santa Rita vicinity, SG100006871 Authority: Section 60.13 of 36 CFR part 60. Dated: July 27, 2021. Sherry A. Frear, Chief, National Register of Historic Places/ National Historic Landmarks Program. [FR Doc. 2021–17010 Filed 8–9–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4312–52–P MICHIGAN Leelanau County South Fox Island Light Station, South Fox Island, Leelanau Township vicinity, SG100006861 Wayne County Alpha House, (The Civil Rights Movement and the African American Experience in 20th Century Detroit MPS), 293 Eliot St., Detroit, MP100006860 OHIO Lucas County Madison Avenue Historic District Superior Street (Boundary Increase), 311, 315–317, 319–323, 325–327, 329, 331–333, 335 North Superior St., Toledo, BC100006862 Walla Walla County Walla Walla Downtown Historic District, Roughly bounded by Rose St., Palouse St., alley between Alder and Popular Sts., and 3rd Ave., Walla Walla, SG100006868 Additional documentation has been received for the following resources: MINNESOTA Yellow Medicine County Canby Commercial Historic District (Additional Documentation), Roughly 1st and 2nd Sts. and St. Olaf Ave., Canby, AD80002189 Frm 00054 Fmt 4703 [Investigation No. 337–TA–1082 (Modification)] Certain Gas Spring Nailer Products and Components Thereof; Notice of a Commission Determination To Adopt a Recommended Determination; Termination of the Modification Proceeding U.S. International Trade Commission. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: Notice is hereby given that the U.S. International Trade Commission (‘‘the Commission’’) has determined to adopt a recommended determination (‘‘RD’’) of the presiding chief administrative law judge (‘‘CALJ’’) finding that redesigned products of respondent Koki Holdings America Ltd. (‘‘Koki’’) of Braselton, Georgia are not covered by the limited exclusion order (‘‘LEO’’) and cease and desist order (‘‘CDO’’) issued in the underlying investigation. The Commission has terminated the modification proceeding. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Clint Gerdine, Esq., Office of the SUMMARY: WASHINGTON PO 00000 INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\10AUN1.SGM 10AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 151 (Tuesday, August 10, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 43674-43677]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-17040]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Bureau of Land Management

[LLNVB01000.L19900000.EX0000.21X.MO:4500152487]


Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
Nevada Gold Mines LLC's Goldrush Mine Project, Lander and Eureka 
Counties, Nevada

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

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

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

SUMMARY: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will consider authorizing 
the proposed Nevada Gold Mines LLC (NGM) Goldrush Mine Project in 
Lander and Eureka Counties, Nevada.

DATES: The BLM requests comments concerning the scope of the analysis 
and identification of relevant information, studies, and analyses. All 
comments must be received by September 9, 2021. The Draft Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) is scheduled for publication in December 2021, 
and the Final EIS is scheduled for publication in April 2022, with a 
Record of Decision in May 2022. The BLM will announce dates of scoping 
meetings at least 15 days in advance of the meeting on the BLM National 
ePlanning website, https://go.usa.gov/xsVs8. Scoping meetings will be 
held online.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Goldrush Mine EIS c/o BLM Mount 
Lewis Field Office, 50 Bastian Road, Battle Mountain, NV 89820. 
Comments may also be sent via email to [email protected]. Submit comments 
online at the website https://go.usa.gov/xsVs8.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Distel, Project Manager, 
telephone: (775) 635-4093; address: 50 Bastian Road, Battle Mountain, 
Nevada 89820; email: [email protected]. Individuals who use 
telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay 
Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern 
Time, Monday through Friday.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Purpose and Need for the Proposed Action

    The BLM's purpose for the action is to respond to NGM's proposal as 
described in the proposed Plan of Operations and to analyze the 
environmental effects associated with the proponent's Proposed Action 
and alternatives to the Proposed Action. The National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) mandates that the BLM evaluate the effects of the 
Proposed Action and develop alternatives when necessary to lessen any 
effects to environmental resources. The BLM's need for the action is 
established by its responsibilities under Section 302 of the Federal 
Land Policy and Management Act and the BLM Surface Management 
Regulations at 43 CFR 3809 to respond to a proposed Plan of Operations 
and ensure that operations prevent unnecessary or undue degradation of

[[Page 43675]]

public lands. NGM's purpose and need is to develop the mineral 
resource.

Preliminary Proposed Action and Alternatives

    NGM is proposing to construct, operate, close, and reclaim a new 
underground mining project in the Cortez Mining District. The proposed 
Goldrush Mine is located approximately 30 miles south of Beowawe, 
Nevada, in Lander and Eureka Counties, Nevada.
    The proposed Goldrush Mine Plan of Operations boundary would 
encompass approximately 19,895 acres, of which 772 acres would be on 
private land controlled by NGM and 19,123 acres on public lands 
administered by the BLM Battle Mountain District, Mount Lewis Field 
Office and BLM Elko District, Tuscarora Field Office. The proposed 
Goldrush Mine would include approximately 1,717 acres of new proposed 
disturbance and approximately 1,037 acres of existing/authorized and 
reclassified disturbance, for a total disturbance of approximately 
2,754 acres.
    The proposed underground mining and surface support activities for 
the Goldrush Mine would include: (1) A materials handling system for 
transporting ore and waste rock from the underground workings to the 
surface and transporting aggregate and supplies to the underground 
workings and surface backfill plant; (2) a dewatering system, including 
wells, pipelines and pipeline corridors, a water treatment plant (WTP), 
rapid infiltration basins (RIBs), and a multi-use shop; (3) a contact 
water pipeline; (4) ventilation raises; (5) a backfill aggregate paste 
plant and crusher; (6) a shotcrete/cemented rock fill (CRF) plant; (7) 
two new power lines, including a 120-kilovolt (kV) power line with two 
switching stations, and a 13.8-kV power line; (8) new ancillary surface 
facilities, including bulk material storage, access roads, power 
supply, stormwater controls, laydown and parking areas, lighting, 
growth media stockpiles, dewatering and monitoring wells, gravel pit 
expansion, potable water and septic systems, dry facilities (change 
rooms), service boreholes for electrical and fuel delivery, fire 
suppression system, water truck refill stations, emergency helipads, 
fencing, and modular information technology (IT) and communications 
buildings; (9) dual use of existing facilities within the nearby Cortez 
Mine Plan boundary; and (10) continued surface and underground 
exploration activities.
    A fleet of over-the-road haul truck and trailer units would be used 
for ore transportation to either the NGM-operated Goldstrike or Gold 
Quarry off-site processing facilities. The Proposed Action would result 
in changes to the Horse Canyon Mine Plan (NVN-066896), Horse Canyon/
Cortez Unified Exploration Project (HC/CUEP) Plan (NVN-066621), West 
Pine Valley Exploration Plan (NVN-077213), and Cortez Mine Plan (NVN-
067575).
    The Goldrush Mine would operate 24 hours per day, 365 days per year 
for approximately 24 years. The work force would be approximately 570 
persons, which includes both NGM employees and contractors. The 
construction work force would be approximately 495 workers.
    Reclamation of disturbed areas resulting from mining operations 
would be completed in accordance with BLM and Nevada Division of 
Environmental Protection (NDEP) regulations. Concurrent reclamation 
would take place where practicable and safe and when an area is no 
longer needed. Reclamation activities at the end of mining are 
anticipated to take approximately 36 months.
    In addition to the No Action and the Proposed Action, other 
alternatives may be identified through scoping comments or through 
analysis.

Summary of Expected Impacts

    The BLM has identified the following preliminary resource concerns 
associated with the Project: (1) Properties of Cultural and Religious 
Importance (PCRI) and Native American concerns. Up to 50 National 
Register of Historic Places-eligible or unevaluated cultural properties 
would be physically altered, resulting in an adverse effect to these 
cultural sites. Adverse impacts would occur to approximately 392 acres 
of the Horse Canyon PCRI. Vegetation communities important to Native 
American traditional values may be impacted by the Proposed Action. (2) 
Impacts to wildlife resources. Potential impacts include habitat 
change, habitat loss, alterations to water sources, fatalities as a 
result of collisions with vehicles, displacement due to human activity 
and disturbance, and impediments to movement through corridors. (3) 
Potential impacts to BLM sensitive species including greater sage-
grouse and golden eagles. For greater sage-grouse, the Proposed Action 
would disturb approximately 805 acres of Priority Habitat Management 
Areas, 14 acres of General Habitat Management Areas, 618 acres of Other 
Habitat Management Areas, and 79 acres of Non-Habitat Management Areas. 
Exploration activities could result in up to 210 acres of additional 
disturbance to any of the greater sage-grouse habitat types. For golden 
eagles, the Proposed Action would result in the removal of 1,094 acres 
of foraging habitat. Additionally, eight golden eagle territories occur 
within one mile of the proposed Project disturbance area. (4) Potential 
impacts to visual resources. The Proposed Action would add form, line, 
texture, and color to the existing landscape. (5) Potential impacts to 
air quality. Modeling has determined that impacts from the Proposed 
Action would not exceed National Ambient Air Quality Standards for 
PM10, PM2.5, CO, NOX, and 
SO2. Total facility-wide Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP) are 
estimated to be 1.8 tons per year (tpy), with 0.5 tpy of the highest 
single HAP, arsenic. The facility-wide HAP emissions are within U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) thresholds. Greenhouse gas 
emissions, including off-site ore transport, are estimated to be 96,624 
tpy CO2e. Mercury emissions are estimated to be 0.014 tpy. 
(6) Potential impacts to surface and groundwater resources. Potential 
impacts to seep, spring, and stream flow may occur from proposed 
dewatering operations if the source of the water is connected to the 
regional aquifer. Dewatering operations would also result in a lowering 
of the local groundwater table. Sedimentation and erosion may also 
occur due to Project-related surface disturbance. (7) Potential impacts 
to traffic. The Proposed Action would result in two ore hauling trucks 
per hour on the transportation route, as well as 89 trips each shift 
for employees and contractors during construction and up to 71 trips 
during operations along the transportation route. Changes in the level 
of service at some locations along the transportation route may occur, 
but there would be no degrading of the level of service below 
acceptable levels. (8) Potential impacts to livestock grazing. The 
Proposed Action would result in new surface disturbance of 1,717 acres, 
which would impact forage utilized by livestock. Approximately 119 
Animal Unit Months (AUMs) would be impacted in the Carico Lake, Grass 
Valley, JD, and South Buckhorn allotments. The 210 acres of proposed 
exploration disturbance may result in an impact ranging from 9 to 19 
AUMs, depending on the allotment in which the activities occur. (9) 
Potential impacts on vegetation communities and soil productivity. The 
Proposed Action would result in disturbance to soil and removal of 
vegetation on 1,717 acres. (10) Potential for subsidence. In the post-
closure period, underground mine induced rock collapse may occur over 
open workings and result in the

[[Page 43676]]

development of localized ground deformation/subsidence type features, 
which are unlikely to impact surface features due to the strength and 
thickness of the overlying rock, and any surface expression is 
anticipated to be local to the immediate mining area and not propagate 
extensively. Additionally, at the end of mining, model-predicted 
subsidence from dewatering may cause a four-inch contour of land with 
the potential for development of fissures. (11) Reclamation to reduce 
permanent disturbance. Approximately 2,232 acres of total surface 
disturbance would be reclaimed and would return to post-reclamation 
land uses, including open space, grazing, dispersed recreation, and 
wildlife habitat, while 523 acres would remain permanently altered.
    The proposed project has the potential to affect golden eagle nests 
and territories; therefore, NGM has prepared an Eagle Conservation Plan 
(ECP) and has requested an incidental take permit for golden eagles in 
the area in which NGM proposes to conduct mining operations. The U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is considering the applicant's 
request for incidental take, as allowed under the Bald and Golden Eagle 
Protection Act (Eagle Act) for the purpose of resource development and 
recovery operations. The USFWS will evaluate the applicant's ECP, which 
describes NGM's request for incidental take authorization for impacts 
resulting from their proposed mining operations. The DEIS will analyze 
any potential effects and impacts of the proposed project on golden 
eagles and may also analyze impacts and develop alternatives associated 
with the USFWS eagle take permit decision under the Eagle Act.

Anticipated Permits and Authorizations

    The BLM anticipates that the following permits and authorizations 
will be required for the mine:

 Air Quality Operating Permit: NDEP (Bureau of Air Pollution 
Control)
 Eagle Take Permit: USFWS
 Explosives Permit: U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, 
and Explosives
 General Stormwater Discharge Permit: NDEP (Bureau of Water 
Pollution Control)
 Hazardous Materials Storage Permit: Nevada Department of 
Public Safety, State Fire Marshall, and State Emergency Response 
Commission
 Industrial Artificial Pond Permit: Nevada Department of 
Wildlife (Habitat Division)
 Jurisdictional Delineation Report Concurrence: U.S. Army Corps 
of Engineers
 Liquefied Petroleum Gas License: Nevada Board of the 
Regulation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Notification of Commencement of 
Operations MSHA
 Permit to Appropriate Water: Nevada Division of Water 
Resources
 Permit to Operate: Nevada Division of Minerals
 Plan of Operations/Record of Decision: BLM
 Potable Water System Permit: Nevada Bureau of Safe Drinking 
Water
 Radioactive Materials License: Nevada Division of Public and 
Behavioral Health
 Reclamation Permit and Reclamation Cost Determination: NDEP 
(Bureau of Mining Regulation and Reclamation)
 Section 401 Certification: NDEP (Bureau of Water Pollution 
Control)
 Septic Treatment Permit, Holding Tank Permit, Sewage Disposal 
System Permit: NDEP (Bureau of Water Pollution Control)
 Water Pollution Control Permit: NDEP (Bureau of Mining 
Regulation and Reclamation)

Schedule for the Decision-Making Process

    The BLM anticipates a decision in May of 2022.

Public Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides 
the development of the environmental impact statement. Scoping meetings 
will be virtual. An announcement about when and how to access the 
virtual meetings online will be posted on the BLM's project website.
    The purpose of public scoping is to identify relevant issues that 
will influence the scope of the environmental analysis, including 
alternatives, and guide the process for developing the environmental 
impact statement. The BLM will use and coordinate the NEPA public 
scoping to help fulfill the public involvement requirements under the 
National Historic Preservation Act (54 U.S.C. 306108) as provided in 36 
CFR 800.2(d)(3). The information about historic and cultural resources 
within the area potentially affected by the proposed action will assist 
the BLM in identifying and evaluating impacts to such resources.
    The BLM will conduct government-to-government consultation with 
Indian Tribes in accordance with Executive Order 13175 and other 
policies. Agencies will give due consideration to Tribal concerns, 
including impacts on Indian trust assets and treaty rights and 
potential impacts to cultural resources.
    The BLM invites Federal, State, and local agencies, along with 
Tribes and other stakeholders that may be interested in or affected by 
the proposed Goldrush Mine to participate in scoping. Agencies with 
regulatory authority or special expertise, if eligible, may request or 
be requested by the BLM to participate in the development of the 
environmental analysis as a cooperating agency.

Request for Identification of Potential Alternatives, Information, and 
Analyses Relevant to the Proposed Action

    The BLM requests assistance with identifying potential alternatives 
to the Proposed Action to be considered. As alternatives should resolve 
a problem with the Proposed Action, please indicate the purpose of the 
suggested alternative. The BLM also requests that potential impacts 
that should be analyzed be identified. Impacts should be a result of 
the action; therefore, please identify the activity and the potential 
impact that should be analyzed. Information that reviewers have that 
would assist in the development of alternatives or analysis of 
resources issues is also helpful.

Lead and Cooperating Agencies

    The BLM is the lead agency. Cooperating agencies include the USFWS, 
the USEPA, the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the Nevada Department of 
Transportation, and Eureka County.

Decision Maker

    The BLM Battle Mountain District Manager, Doug Furtado, is the 
responsible official.

Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The BLM will issue a decision on the proposed Plan of Operations 
for the Goldrush mine project.
    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

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anonymously will also be accepted and considered.
    Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7.

Bradlee A. Matthews,
Acting Field Manager, Mount Lewis Field Office, Battle Mountain 
District.
[FR Doc. 2021-17040 Filed 8-9-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-HC-P