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Keystone and Radcliff Mines
Inyo Register
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Bush Mining Company reps outline operations, economic benefit
By Terrance Vestal
Managing Editor

At its virtual meeting last week, the Inyo County Board of Supervisors heard a presentation from representatives of Bush Management Company, which owns the Radcliffe and Keystone mines, on the company’s general plans.

John Hagestad, the owner of the company, and Charles McLaughlin, a company partner, gave an overview of planned operations as well as the economic benefits Inyo County could see as a result of those operations.

The Radcliffe Mine is a 1,750-acre complex of patented and unpatented mining claims about 25 miles east of Trona, according to Bush Management. Keystone Mine is an underground gold mine that has been intermittently worked since 1940, which is located in Goler Wash on the western flank of the Panamint Mountains. Bush Management Company acquired the mine in 2015 and ownership and use of this claim is overseen by the Bureau of Land Management.

McLaughlin began the presentation by pointing out that Bush Management is one of Inyo County’s largest property tax payers and “we hope soon to be one of your larger employers.”

He said the company is planning to put both of its mines into production later this year and into next year.

Hagestad said “we’re trying to be good community citizens and com- munity partners and just wanted to let you know what our goals and objectives are and hopefully they’re mutual to yours as well.”

McLaughlin said both of the mines, which Bush Management acquired over the last several years, are fully permitted and both of them are prior operating.

McLaughlin said about 137 acres of the 1,750 acres of the Radcliffe Mine, while company owned, falls under an Inyo County conditional use permit and associated reclamation plan. The county’s conditional use permit was approved in 2008 and runs through December 2013.

With the Radcliffe Mine, the company has six portal sites that were pre- approved based on the location of the resources that have been identified.

McLaughlin said there was also an associated environmental permit issued, showing that there were no significant issues on the property.

He said all of the mines that have been approved are for underground mining.

The company’s presentation included a number of maps showing portal locations and proposed hauling routes for ore processing.

“So, in summary, we’ve got the two mines that we’re getting ready to put into production,” McLaughlin said. “We wanted to let you know where we stand on that. We’ll be submitting some more plans to the Planning Department in the near future.”

McLaughlin said with the Radcliffe Mine the ore will be crushed and hauled off site or processed on site, which would be allowed under the county zoning.

He said the ore would be crushed and converted into a “doré” material, which is usually produced as part of the mining and refining process, and the company will be using dry stacking for any tailings that exists.

McLaughlin said there is no water that flows under the site and he compared the process to the one that was approved for the Darwin Mine, as far as zoning and approvals that mine received for on-site pro- cessing. The company will be using cyanide to process the ore in tanks

“And so we’ll be submitting that to the Planning Department,” McLaughlin said.

With the Keystone Mine, McLaughlin said, it’s all BLM claims. He said the plan of operations was first approved there in 1981.

He said the BLM plan has been modified three times, each with an updated environmental assessment with the last one issued in September or October of 2018. The last one was issued in the I think it was September, October of 2018.

“The original plan of operations does have a cyanide operation, approved as part of the initial plan of operations,” he said of the Keystone Mine. “But we’re just starting the metallurgical analysis over there. The mine structure is high in the hills. There’s no water around there at all. And that, as you probably know, in that process, it’s the impact on water and other facilities that you have to be very careful about. And we’ll be using that due diligence.”

McLaughlin said the company is looking at using the cyanide process for gold extraction both with and without water but it will most likely end up hauling water into the area. He said the company would have a “tank farm” in the Claire Camp area, which is nearby, and will probably haul 5,000 gallons a day.

He said the company has just started work with the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board on the issue but the hydrology study was completed two years ago.

McLaughlin said the company expects to be employing at Radcliffe 30 to 50 people on shifts, which would depend on the rate of production at the mine. He said their current model shows Bush Management Company will be generating 25,000 ounces a year, out of the 210,000 ounces that the company currently show is its resource there. The company plans on operating in that manner for eight or nine years. With company expectations, it will most likely look at ways to accelerate that production.

“If you increase the production, you end up increasing the number of people you have to have,” he said. “It also increases the flow-through to the state Department of Conservation for the annual payment per ounce that’s generated.”

With a change in property tax assessments based on production resources, McLaughlin said there would most likely be an increase in property taxes collected by Inyo County.

He said the same would hold true at the Keystone Mine.

“So, collectively, we’re probably looking at 50 to 100 people in various categories,” McLaughlin said. “We certainly will be looking for qualified people in Inyo County to join us.”

McLaughlin said the company currently is accruing on both of the mines $30,000 to $40,000 a year in county property taxes, which is expected to increase as each one of the mines gets into production.

He said Bush Management Company wants to be a community partner in Inyo County, especially after the economic hit the county has taken during the COVID-19 pandemic.
~When You Live in Nevada, "just down the road" is anywhere in the line of sight within the curvature of the earth.
Thanks for the new/link. I'm no expert in this field but remain skeptical of the rosy picture painted by mining companies wooing zoning boards and locals. Is it still the wild wild west out there east of Trona?
Life begins in Death Valley
Quote:The company will be using cyanide to process the ore in tanks

A number of states have banned using cyanide in mining. I'm surprised California is not among them.
"He said the company would have a “tank farm” in the Claire Camp area, which is nearby, and will probably haul 5,000 gallons a day."

"the company expects to be employing at Radcliffe 30 to 50 people on shifts"

Wow, Pleasant Canyon is gonna be a busy place if all this actually transpires.

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