EUREKA - Federal land managers have approved a major mine project in central Nevada, saying it will provide an average of 400 long-term jobs.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials announced Friday that a record of decision has been signed for the Mount Hope Molybdenum Mine after six years of review.
Eureka Moly LLC's open-pit mine will disturb some 8,100 acres of public land and 260 acres of private land located within the 22,886-acre project area about 25 miles northwest of Eureka, according to the BLM.
The project life of the mine includes 44 years of mining and ore processing, and 30 years of reclamation.
"We anticipate that the Mount Hope project will become an important contributor to economic development and job opportunities in northern Nevada for decades to come," company CEO Bruce D. Hansen told the Elko Daily Free Press (http://bit.ly/QgYerA).
Christopher Cook, manager of the BLM's Mount Lewis Field Office, said the decision marked a culmination of extensive coordination with various county, state and federal governmental agencies.
"We greatly appreciate all the effort that has been put forth throughout the process to make this project both an economic and environmental success through numerous design features and continued monitoring and mitigation to address emergent issues in the future," he said in a statement.
But in response to the BLM's decision, Eureka County commissioners issued a news release criticizing both the federal agency and the mining company for failing to resolve many issues concerning the mine's potential environmental impact, including water consumption.
"Many outstanding issues still remain, which we have strived to resolve with BLM and (Eureka Moly) over the past six years," commissioners said. "Ultimately, these issues must be addressed. We are disheartened with the choice of BLM and EML to delay addressing these issues by saddling future decision makers and Eureka County citizens with this responsibility."
Molybdenum is a metallic element used as an alloy agent in steel manufacturing. It can be used for a wide range of applications, including solar cells, engines, airplanes and military equipment.
The mine contains 1.3 billion pounds of molybdenum in proven and probable reserves, according to a company statement. Molybdenum currently sells for $11.10 per pound.
Construction is expected to begin next year, with production at the mine beginning by late 2014.