Art Wilson can continue his milling operation at his Mound House mine, but he will have to prove he's met all the county's conditions if he wants to keep it.
The Lyon County Commissioners approved Wilson's request for a special use permit for a milling operation at his mine on Linehan Road, with the stipulation that he meet the county Planning Department's conditions and come back before the commissioners in six months and prove he has met the conditions.
Wilson built the mill and began operating without getting the proper permits more than a year ago. When told he was violating county code, he filed for the special-use permit.
However, after complaints from neighbors about the smell of burnt molasses emanating from his facility, county commissioners denied his request and he began the permitting process all over again.
Commissioners approved the permit, provided Wilson takes action to mitigate the smell and adheres to all county codes, Nevada Department of Environmental Protection and federal Environmental Protection Agency requirements.
Molasses is used to bind the ore in the milling operation that is used to create rock materials for golf courses and other uses.
Wilson said he spent more than $100,000 on a system to control emissions that will also control the heat in the dryers that dry the product. He said overheating of the dryers is what caused the molasses to burn and the smell to become a problem for his neighbors.
Melinda Cash, who lives near the mine, said the odor was still present, though less often than in the past.
"On President's Day, the odor was so bad it also came into my home," she said.
Wilson said his new system should mitigate the odor, and if it doesn't he can switch to a calcium-based neosulfamate instead of molasses to bind the ore.
Wilson will also have to limit his hours of operation to 40 per week, between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., and for no more than 4,000 hours per year.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.