Snow on top of the beautiful Bodie Hills, as taken by EcoFlight last spring.
Happy New Year from the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership!
It may be a new year, but lovers of the Bodie Hills are dealing with many of the same things. In this newsletter we talk mining and opportunities for YOU to join us in both speaking up for this amazing ecosystem and getting out on the land to hold destructive exploratory mining companies accountable. Thank you for reading our newsletter in 2023; we are overjoyed to keep protecting the Bodie Hills with you into 2024 and beyond.
Exploratory Drilling in Nevada Ramps Up & Threatens the Integrity of the Bodie Hills
The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Bridgeport Ranger District (USFS) is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for Klondex Aurora Mine Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hecla Mining Company. Referred to as The Polaris Exploration Project (Project) by the USFS, the mine is located 18 miles south-southwest of Hawthorne in Mineral County, Nevada.
By the Numbers, Proposed:
--7,540 acres in the Project area
--250 drill pads
--25 miles of new roads
--3 Inventoried Roadless Areas impacted
--10,000 gallons of water used a day
--10 years of exploration activities
--One candidate Endangered Species Act (ESA) insect, the Monarch Butterfly
--One proposed as threatened ESA species, the Bi-State Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)
Comments are due February 20th, 2024. Many of our partners will be writing comments and speaking up to protect the Nevada side of the Bodie Hills. Will you?
Map of Klondex Aurora's proposed Polaris Project at Sawtooth Ridge. The dots in purple are the sites previously authorized in December 2022.
The drill pads at Sawtooth Ridge when we visited them in early December.
About Sawtooth Ridge/The Polaris Project
Hecla Nevada/Klondike Aurora drilled at the Sawtooth Ridge project site this summer and into the fall. They were three roughly 90 by 90 drillpads established of the 13 approved, which are marked in purple on the map above.
About the site: This project is located behind the Aurora Cemetery. In December of 2022 the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest approved the Sawtooth Ridge gold exploration project as a categorical exclusion despite the removal of over 700 healthy, mature, pinyon trees. 13 drill sites are in a pinyon woodland and three are in sagebrush clearings.
There are two more exploratory drilling projects on the Nevada side of the Bodie Hills besides Klondex Aurora's project on Sawtooth Ridge: Headwater Gold's project at Spring Peak and Paramount Gold's project at Bald Peak.
Why do we care so much about exploratory drilling? The Chair of the BHCP's Landscape Defense Subcomittee, Lynn Boulton, Chair of the Sierra Club Range of Light Group explains why in "The Harms of Exploratory Drilling," a free online presentation recorded last January to educate the public on just what this strange stage of mining does to the lands we care about so much.
Thank you for your continued support of the BHCP.
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