Proposed Vanadium Mine
photo credit: Terry Dempsey
September 17th, 2020
The Current Status
Gibellini is a proposed vanadium mine in Eureka County, NV. It is currently in the Bureau of Land Management’s scoping process, which is one of the first stages for the permitting of a mine federally under the National Environmental Protection Act. This is significant because it means the proposed project will be in the public process and have multiple opportunities for you to engage in the coming months. Participation during these opportunities is crucial for keeping the project accountable to the needs of the people and ecosystem in which it is proposed to be built. If you would like to work with us during these public engagement opportunities, stay tuned by joining our “action alert” list (through emailing Chelsey at email@example.com with “action alert list” in the subject line).
The proposed mine entails:
- An estimated 806 acres of surface disturbance
- 10 million tons of vanadium annually
- 7 year mine life, post closure monitoring for up to 30 years
- Mining and crushing activities occurring 24 hours per day, 7 days a week
- Sulfuric acid heap leach process to extract the vanadium (would be first of its kind, however, acid leach pads more broadly are notorious for long term pollution and treatment
- Leasing water from Fish Creek Ranch
- Likely produce uranium “yellow cake” as a secondary product
GBRW’s Concerns with the Project
The method the company will be using to extract vanadium (sulfuric acid heap leaching) is the first of its kind, so this is cause for heightened concern and attention. GBRW advocates that a thorough review process and adequate caution, due to the project’s experimental nature, be used in evaluating the mine’s potential impacts.
Other concerns about the proposed project include disruption to the valley’s currently quiet and dark night skies, damage and disruption to people ranching near the proposed mine site, harm to wildlife (since the project is in a mule deer migration corridor, is located near known golden eagle nests, is on top of general sage grouse habitat and 3.8 miles away from an active lek, is in a significant area for wild horses, and is known to have three different species of bats), issues associated with view-shed, negative health and environmental affects from the leaching/handling of uranium at the mine, and potential improper Tribal consultation and protection of cultural resources.
In the scoping meeting on September 2nd, 2020, BLM stated that there were 101 cultural resources that could be impacted. It is crucial that there be incredibly robust consultation with the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe and protection of cultural resources.
For More Information
You can visit the Bureau of Land Management’s eplanning site for Gibellini at https://go.usa.gov/xf2GR