Nevada Gold Mines’ Cortez Mine in Nevada ranks one of the World’s Top Ten Tier One gold mines. It has been in continuous operation since 1862 and is currently being expanded. This expansion project, known as the Deep South project, will extend the life of the mine and served as the highlight of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s new expedited permitting process.
On July 23, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt visited the Cortez mine where he saw first-hand its Deep South expansion project, and heard about the success of the DOI’s permitting process from Nevada Gold Mines’ executive managing director Greg Walker.
“The Deep South EIS represented a significant enhancement of the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) permitting process,” Walker said in a statement. “In the past, each EIS approval required up to 18 months for Notices of Intent and Availability. The industry worked with the Department of the Interior (DOI) to see if this step in the process could be streamlined and the solution provided by then Deputy Secretary Bernhardt delivered a material improvement.
“Some 98 percent of our former, current and planned operations are on public land administered by DOI agencies and we maintain a close and productive relationship with the federal government and the state of Nevada. The department authorizes mining on public land and regulates landscape-scale habitat upliftment projects. As partners with the DOI, we support the protection of sage-grouse and rehabilitation of their habitat as well as an outcome-based grazing pilot program, to benefit the land and local communities,” Walker said.
The Deep South project is a a key initiative for Nevada Gold Mines, a joint venture launched in July and owned 61.5 percent by Barrick Gold Corporation, which operates it, and 38.5 percent by Newmont Goldcorp.
Nevada Gold Mines’ executive managing director Greg Walker said the company was delighted to host Secretary Bernhardt and noted that as Deputy Secretary, he led the process reform which helped to expedite the review of the Deep South environmental impact statement (EIS).
Walker said Nevada Gold Mines was destined to be one of the world’s greatest gold mining operations and planned to mine several world-class projects in its immediate and longer-term future. These include newly identified deposits at Goldrush, Robertson and perhaps Fourmile, as well as the expansion of the existing ore bodies at Cortez Hills, Pipeline and other locations. These growth projects will continue to provide a broad range of employment opportunities for years to come. All these projects, he said, are dependent on the NEPA process and its continued improvement.
“Our mission is to create sustainable, long-term value for all stakeholders, not least the state and people of Nevada by combining best assets with best people. To achieve this we are committed to continue building on our education, training and upskilling programs which involve scholarships, bursary schemes, such as leadership development and Science Technology Engineering Art Math (STEAM) initiatives in school and university education and vocational training institutions, as well as on the job training with a strong focus on America’s workers,” he said.