Wildlife-friendly work honored

When Newmont Mining Corp. set out to reclaim its Bootstrap Mine property northwest of Carlin, its plans paid close attention to the needs of wildlife.

That company's work has attracted wildlife ranging from pronghorn antelope and mule deer to chukar and birds of prey.

And it attracted the attention of federal and state regulators who recognized the work with the annual Nevada Excellence in Mine Reclamation Award.

The mine has been inactive since 2005, and Newmont has reclaimed about 850 acres of the 1,000 acres disturbed by the open-pit operation.

Roger MacGregor, a reclamation permit manager with Newmont, said bulldozer operators on the reclamation job sought to mimic the undisturbed ground nearby.

That meant they didn't bulldoze the ground into contoured levels, but instead shaped waste rock into natural-looking features.

"These features included placement of surface moguls, blending into natural slopes, placement of rock piles for raptor habitat and rock chutes for chukar habitat," MacGregor said last week.

The company also installed a small-game water guzzler on the property to provide water for chukar. The Nevada Department of Wildlife will maintain the guzzler once the mine is closed.

Newmont experimented with seed mixes, mulches and fertilizers at test plots at the site and planted the material that showed the most promise.

A test of the work's success came a few months after reclamation began.

"Wildlife was witnessed on the reclaimed dump only one year after reclamation commenced," MacGregor said.

The mine, which began operation in 1996, includes four interconnected open pits and four waste rock facilities. Although it's inactive, the mine isn't fully closed as Newmont continues with exploration nearby.

The annual award for mine reclamation is sponsored by three state agencies the division of minerals, division of environment protection and department of wildlife along with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.


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