Question: We have not seen an announcement from NDEP for the Comment Period for the Air Permit. There is a 30 day period for comments after the announcement and then there would be another 30 day period after the Hearing date announcement. This would push getting the Air Permit well into January next year. Why the delay with this permit process and will it effect your efforts to get to production by Spring 2012? Have you been able to put in any of the liners in the new leach ponds yet or did the cold weather set in before you could do this?
Answer: Thank you for the inquiries. We have received several similar inquiries.
I’ll answer the second question first because we have good progress to report. On October 14, 2011, the Company was granted authorization, through a Notice and Findings Order # 2011-22, to fully construct and line a process solution pond. This pond is a prerequisite for production but also enables compliance with our recently modified Water Pollution Control Permit #NEV 2000109.
American Flat Processing Area (yellow block indicates the new Process Solution Pond area)
About 3 weeks ago, we commenced construction on a three million+ gallon process solution pond. This was a time sensitive activity because colder weather may have interfered with completion before the winter. We certainly expect completion before year-end and have progressed sufficiently so that weather should not delay us. This has significantly and positively mitigated the delays experienced from the Air Quality permit. I have included a picture here from the recent process pond construction that we took just a few days ago.
American Flat Processing Area (November 2011)
Additionally, we have received approval from NDEP to rip the heap in preparation for addition of ore and solution. So once the permit is received, we can move forward with the expansion of the Merrill Crowe process facility.
The Company expects the Air Quality Permit to go to public notice this month. Although that does require public notice for 30 days, we understand the hearing date will be scheduled 30 days from the beginning of the public notice period. Over the last few weeks, we have iterated the Air Quality permit application with NDEP several times and we are moving very close to public notice. Since we expect public notice this month, we expect the hearing and the issuance to be in late December.
During this process, the Nevada Mining Association made significant progress with the State of Nevada in better defining the new Air Quality Permit parameters and how they best apply to us. These changes, although delaying the permit by a few more weeks, are extremely beneficial to the company. We believe the changes will result in a much more efficient measuring and monitoring process, with both the state and ultimately, the federal government.
Once issued, the Company has approximately six months of construction activities including land clearing, excavation and leveling associated with the installation of the crushing facility and installation of the expanded Merrill Crowe facility. We have already received most of the major components of the new crushing facility on site.
Goodfellow 36” x 150’ SuperStacker
Goodfellow 400 Horsepower K400 Cone Crusher
Goodfellow 7’ x 20’ Double Deck Vibrating Screen, proudly built in the USA
Delivery of the Grove 40-Ton All Terrain Crane to Gold Hill, NV
Grove 40-Ton All Terrain Crane
CAT 988G Loader CAT 14H Road Grader
CAT 834B Rubber Tire Dozer
CAT D6 with LGP Track CAT 246C Skid Steer Loader
CAT 773F Haul Truck CAT D8 Track Dozer
We have also scheduled delivery of remaining equipment during the first week of December. This includes five Caterpillar 773 Haul Trucks, three Caterpillar 988G Bucket Loaders, one Caterpillar 834 wheel dozer, one Caterpillar D8R Track dozer, one Caterpillar D6 LPG track dozer, one Caterpillar skid steer loader and one Kenworth 4100 gallon water truck. This delivery represents the remaining rolling stock for continuing production activities.
Production preparation at American Flat Processing Area
In summary, we are marching very methodically towards production. We look forward to it in 2012, and we believe the first pour will be an incredibly well attended event.
Corrado De Gasperis
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