Mining companies often face multiple obstacles to its ability to do business. Besides the layers of government bureaucracy mines face before they can open or expand, there are special interest groups that frequently stand in the way. These groups can put your company’s plans in jeopardy.

For example, a major Nevada gold mining operation is facing criticism from local Native American tribes and environmentalists over property rights, cultural impact and the alleged impact a planned expansion of the gold mine would have on environmental resources. The company, Nevada Gold Mines, wants to begin phase two of its Long Canyon Mine in Elko County.

Claims against the gold mine expansion

The proposed expansion of mining operations requires Nevada Gold Mines to lower the groundwater level in the area to give miners access, a process known as dewatering. The company would replenish the water table by leeching it back from surface ponds. But the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, which is partly located in White Pine County, says the dewatering plan would affect the purity of the water in the aquifer, which its members use in tribal ceremonies. The original mine is located on former tribal land. The tribal confederation accuses the existing mining operation of destroying artifacts and ruining the landscape, which the tribes value for historical and spiritual reasons.

In addition, environmental groups claim dewatering the aquifer at the mine will affect the Johnson Springs Wetlands Complex and the animal species that live there, including a species of fish under consideration for endangered status.

Nevada Gold Mines says it is “committed to strong environmental stewardship.” It noted that its mines are subject to oversight from 22 agencies at the local, state and federal levels of government.

Sorting through the complexities of mining regulation

It can take years for a mining company to work through the red tape and activist actions from the public and open for business. The advice and representation of an attorney who practices in this area can significantly reduce the delay and help your company avoid mistakes.