The Grass Valley City Council hired its own consultant to review the mine report. Citing multiple deficiencies, recirculation was recommended.
The Union | William Roller April 13, 2022
A consulting group told the Grass Valley City Council this week that there are multiple technical deficiencies in the draft environmental impact report for the Idaho-Maryland Mine.
Jeffrey Harvey, principal and senior scientist with Harvey Consulting group, LLC, pointed to a proposed 80-year permit for the mine, as well as water quality and emissions, when delivering his presentation Tuesday to the council. He recommended the county revise the draft EIR, recirculate it and again go through the public comment process.
Mayor Ben Aguilar said the city is not deciding the issue, but opted to hire Harvey to analyze the document and provide adequate comment. Harvey told the council that the property is within its sphere of land use, and ought to have it reviewed before the Nevada County Board of Supervisors votes on it.
A vote by that board isn’t yet scheduled. According to Harvey, Rise Grass Valley, the company seeking to reopen the mine, purchased the land and mineral rights from Emgold in 2017 and requested a permit to reopen the mine for 80 years.
“The previous total granted by the city was only 20 years, made a big difference,” said Harvey.
Harvey added that mine production is proposed for 365 days per year, and includes disposal of mining residuals, 150 tons per year, with some backfill to be stockpiled on mine sites and some exported to local construction sites.
The Harvey Group recommended the Nevada County Board of Supervisors, which will decide whether to approve the mine’s permit request, reconsider the whole approach.
“We suggest a 30-year alternative, with 10-year environmental performance reviews and adaptive management as needed,” he said. “We also recommend reducing operational size by half to 500 tons per day, still a sizable operation. And we’re looking at operational hours from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. We’d change to daytime hours only. The Centennial Site (10344 Centennial Drive) is proposed to have mine residual fill and it’s not really acceptable for that material. It really should be permitted as a separate industrial project.”
WATER, EMISSIONS Harvey said water testing should be monthly, and if results indicate problems it should be monitored more closely. Additionally, Rise plans to use diesel equipment in mines, though Harvey said underground equipment should be electric as well, as greenhouse gas receptors have not included a map where they would be located.
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