Bureau of Land Management News: BLM issues final environmental impact statement for the Copper Flat Copper Mine

LAS CRUCES, NM (STL.News) – The Bureau of Land Management Friday released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Copper Flat Copper Mine. This document analyzes the potential environmental effects from the proposed Copper Flat Mine in Sierra County, New Mexico, and recommends potential mitigation measures. The Federal Register publication of the Notice of Availability begins a 30-day administrative period on the Final EIS, after which the BLM will issue a Record of Decision. This project would further the Department of Interior’s goal of sustainably developing our natural resources.

The BLM has prepared the Final EIS in conjunction with its four Cooperating Agencies: the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish; New Mexico Environment Department; New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department; and New Mexico Office of the State Engineer.

The New Mexico Copper Corporation (Copper Corporation) proposes re-establishing a poly-metallic mine and processing facility located near Hillsboro, New Mexico. The 2,190-acre project would use BLM-managed public land and private property. The project would authorize Copper Corporation to conduct mining activities in Sierra County on public land, leading to the extraction and processing of copper ore.

The BLM’s Preferred Alternative to the Proposed Action would process 30,000 tons per day of copper ore over a mine operations period of 12 years, resulting in 125 million tons of ore processed over the life of the mine.

The need for the BLM to authorize this project is established under the General Mining Law of 1872. Under the law, individuals are entitled to reasonable access to explore for and develop mineral deposits on public domain land. As the Federal agency responsible for managing mineral rights and access on certain Federal lands, the BLM must ensure that Copper Corporation’s proposal complies with the BLM Surface Management Regulation, the Mining and Mineral Policy Act of 1970, and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. The BLM’s preferred alternative does not require an amendment to the BLM White Sands Resource Management Plan.