Mono County Submits Initial Comments on Long Valley Exploration Drilling Project Looking for Gold and Silver
The Mono County Board of Supervisors took a strong stance in opposition to the proposed exploratory drilling project in Long Valley at its Tuesday meeting.
Kore Mining has claimed the project qualifies as a categorical exclusion from the state and federal environmental protection legislation. The County disagreed. Noting both the exploratory project and any further mining activity would have an impact on the Bi-State Sage Grouse leks just three miles from the site as well as the grazing leases.
The Board approved a letter to the Inyo National Forest mineral program manager requesting information on the operation and further impact analysis
According to the company’s Technical Report, the site is “a few miles” east of U.S. Hwy. 395.
Categorical exclusions are defined as “a class of actions ….that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment and for which neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is normally required.”
The letter, outlined by Wendy Sugimura Mono’s community development director, cites four major objections: the operation conflicts with Mono County policies, potential impacts at Hot Creek and Little Hot Creek, the requirement for tribal consultation and the exploration could lead to an open pit mining operation.
While the site is within Inyo National Forest, Mono County’s Mining Ordinance requires a permit for mining operations.
Kore’s Mark Leduc reminded the Board the current project would not give the company the right to proceed and Kore would “embrace the National Environmental Protection Act process before proceeding beyond the tests. He explained the test would impact less than an acre with 14 drill pads within a 53-foot by 30-foot area, not take place during the Sage Grouse brooding season and there would be coordination with the grazing lessees.
Mono County’s response was based on preliminary documents from Kore and completed within the deadline. A more complete operations plan was made available, but Sugimura explained not in enough time to meet that initial comment deadline of May 6. The additional information may resolve some of the issues, she said, but it may also bring up additional problems with the project.
That deadline was just extended to May 13.