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Environment

Carson SinkThe Buena Vista project lies within the Great Basin region of the Basin and Range physiographic province of north-western Nevada. Topography of the Basin and Range province is characterised by a series of generally north trending, fault block mountain ranges separated by broad valleys filled with alluvium and lacustrine sediments.


The mine and mineral processing facilities are to be located in the southern portion of the Buena Vista Hills, a well defined topographic feature about 9 miles long and 3 miles wide that extends north from the northwest trending Stillwater Range. The Buena Vista Hills form a low divide that separates the Buena Vista Valley on the northeast from the Carson Sink on the southwest. 

The proposed mine site will be situated on the western flank of the southern Buena Vista Hills at an elevation of about 4,300 feet (1,378 metres) above sea level. 


Temperatures in the project area range from lows around -30°F to highs of around 110°F. Annual precipitation averages from 4 to 6 inches with a slightly higher precipitation at upper elevations.

West of the mine site lies the Carson Sink. The Carson Sink is a closed basin into which the Carson River flows from the southwest. The sink is now a playa, the remnant of pre-historic Lake Lahontan. A series of sand dunes separate the playa from the sage brush environment immediately west of the mine site.

West of the mine site in the Carson Sink, the area's plant cover is dominated by various associations of drought-tolerant desert shrubs, with a sparse seasonal undercover of annuals and perennials. The various plant communities are strongly controlled by soil salinity and drainage.

The proposed slurry pipeline will traverse nearly 25 miles of country from the mine site in the Buena Vista Hills to the rail siding near the Humboldt River. The pipeline route will follow the western side of the Buena Vista Hills and then the south-western side of the Humboldt Range; across the alluvial plains on the south side of the Humboldt Range and the over the West Humboldt Range via Coal Canyon. 

The proposed electrical transmission line will follow the same route as the slurry pipeline to the south side of the West Humboldt Range but then deflect northeast through Packard Flats and over the low pass that separates the Humboldt Range from the West Humboldt Range towards Oreana.

Terrestrial wildlife resources in the project area are typical of the Northern Great Basin. A wide variety of wildlife species common to the Great Basin ecosystem can be found within the project area. Common large and small wildlife species occurring in the area include mule deer, pronghorn antelope, coyote, blacktail jackrabbit, desert cottontail, bobcat, numerous raptors, reptiles, and other small mammal species.

The Bureau of Land Management manages the cattle livestock grazing on public rangelands within the area surrounding the proposed mine site. There are no existing range improvements in the Project Area.

The project area has a history of mining, there is no evidence of Native American sites and the project is not within Indian Reservation land.