Mono County Supervisors Come Out Against Gold-Silver Exploration Drilling in Long Valley

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.

Greater Sage Grouse Lek

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.

Stitched Panorama – Hot Springs – Mono County (Wikipedia Commons)


While the site is within Inyo National Forest, Mono County’s Mining Ordinance requires a permit for mining operations.

Kore Chief Operating Officer Mr. Leduc is a mining engineer and geologist with over 30 years experience covering all aspects of the development, operation, planning and evaluation of mining projects, with expertise in designing, constructing and operating large heap leach gold mines. Ccompany website)

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.

9 Responses to Mono County Supervisors Come Out Against Gold-Silver Exploration Drilling in Long Valley

  1. Jean Habegger May 12, 2021 at 10:01 am #

    I would hate to see Long Valley look like some areas I have seen in Nevada, after mining left the area.

  2. Gold digger May 9, 2021 at 11:29 pm #

    Did you guys even read the article. They have a acre around the 53×30 pad to maneuver their equipment around. An acre is the size of a professional football field. Their not going to pay for a environmental impact study for a fully operational mine till they know what’s in the ground, if they proceed they will then have the studies done. Your making it sound like their somehow going to illegally get around not doing environmental impact studies. Like that would even be possible with all the checks that will be performed by the county, usfs, state and federal agencies that will be checking in on them.

  3. Philip Anaya May 8, 2021 at 9:42 am #

    Mr. Leduc’s Kore proposal for drilling contains an illustration of a typical 53×30 pad that has a drilling rig, a water truck and 2 pickup trucks nicely backed into the pad and yes they fit tightly packed at the end of the access trail. However there is no way any of the vehicles has room to turn around or to back in. Having a proposal that is less than 1 acre of disturbed ground avoids a CEQA process thus this disingenuous plan has been manipulated to fit in an area of less than an acre in total. It is flawed and it is irresponsible for any Government entity to accept a proposal with such an intended avoidance to actually be environmentally sound. The proposal should be rejected as being disingenuous and impractical to the real world impacts that each drill site will experience. Further, there should be a full time cultural monitor at each site during drilling, thus another vehicle. There will also be official visitors to each site during drilling and their vehicles. No doubt Mr. Leduc is a qualified engineer and no doubt he knows his plan is paper thin in practicality.

    • Lydia May 8, 2021 at 7:09 pm #

      Phillip, whoever you are, thank you for knowing what you know and speaking from an intelligent an informed scientific place. Live long.

  4. Charles O. Jones May 7, 2021 at 3:00 pm #

    The purpose and hope of a test pad would be to commence with full scale mining operations at some point. Mr. Leduc needs the thoroughly describe what the full mining operation would look like, not just what a test pad would encompass.

  5. Ted Williams May 6, 2021 at 10:07 am #

    When a company conducts exploratory drilling for gold, their intent is to mine if it is profitable. Saying, “oh we are just testing nothing else and the impact will be minor,” never addressing the ultimate impact should mining take place. It is disingenuous to proclaim little impact, when the ultimate goal is full scale mining.

  6. M. Anderson May 6, 2021 at 7:39 am #

    Was the Board’s position unanimous, or did any of the supervisors support the drilling?,

    • Deborah Murphy May 7, 2021 at 6:38 pm #

      M.Anderson–unanimous! The Supes usually are unanimous on votes. Tioga Inn housing project was the only split vote I covered in some 6 years.

  7. Lydia May 5, 2021 at 6:49 pm #

    Does Leduc really believe the word “embrace” is going to seduce MC sups into lala land? Locals weren’t born yesterday and actually do see past the ends of their noses.


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