90 percent of public comments fell into 4 categories
- Air quality at the mine site and along an unidentified
- Potential impacts to
groundwater from use of a well on private land.
- Potential impact of increased truck traffic along an unidentified transportation network.
- Potential socioeconomic impacts such as employment, changes in local tax revenues, and general quality of life.
Since the turn of the last century, seven previous mining operations have used the site of the proposed Kirkland High Quality Pozzolan Mine near Skull Valley. The Bureau of Land Management oversees the use of 164 acres that once included the “Kitty Litter” mine in the 1970s south of the small community of Skull Valley and north of Kirkland.
BLM District Manager Leon Thomas and Field Manager Rem Hawes from Phoenix updated the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors on Nov. 1 on several projects in the county, including the Kirkland Mine.
The proposed mine, a small-to-midsized quarry-type operation, will encompass 76 of the 164 acres of public lands. No blasting or use of chemical processing will take place on the property.
“This is the site of seven previous mines and quarry operations since the turn of the previous century,” Thomas said, adding that quarried rock from this site was used on the Arizona State Capitol building.
The BLM extended the initial scoping period for public comment to an “almost unprecedented” 78 days, which generated nearly 1,000 comments making up 1,400 pages — not including attached documents — before it closed Sept. 11. Some emails and comment letters were duplicates, Hawes said following the meeting. These, and other documents, are available on the project website: go.usa.gov/xn4sh.
During the first 30-day scoping period, BLM hosted a public open house with 143 in attendance. It extended the time period and mailed or emailed notifications to 1,659 residents of Skull Valley, Kirkland, Yarnell, Congress, Peeples Valley and Prescott. A third extension closed Sept. 11.
Pozzolan is used in cement and concrete manufacturing. The pozzolan from this particular site is classified as unique based on the reaction that occurs when it is finely ground and placed in the presence of water and calcium hydroxide.
“No nonpozzolanic mineral can be substituted for this purpose,” geologist Jeff Garrett wrote in his April 20 memorandum report to BLM.
The application process, public scoping, and publication of public comments have been completed. The application included a cultural resources inventory study and a biological evaluation report.
Next up is an Environmental Analysis, which includes surface and subsurface testing for erionite. Under the National Historic Preservation Act, BLM will notify four tribes which have ancestral lands in the project area. Once the draft EA is completed, a 30-day public comment period and another open house or hearing will take place. The final EA will be completed in Summer/Fall 2018.
In the Winter 2018-19, if BLM makes a determination and finding of no significant impact, the Mining and Reclamation Plan would be approved, subject to a 30-day appeal period.
In addition, Yavapai County requires a traffic study.
KMC will need to provide financial assurance to ensure reclamation of the mined site to a post-mine land use, according to BLM regulations.
BLM also is working on:
A secondary ingress/egress in the Blue Hills area of Dewey-Humboldt.
Fuel mitigation in Skull Valley.
Black Canyon Corridor travel management planning.
The 80-mile non-motorized Black Canyon Recreational Trial.