A gold exploration company has announced it’s suspending a proposal to continue gold mining exploration on Conglomerate Mesa, between Lone Pine and Death Valley, after the U.S. Bureau of Land Management required an environmental impact statement for the project.
Known as Mojave Precious Metals, a local subsidiary of Canadian-owned K2Gold, the planned exploration project in a rugged, roadless area was shut down over a threatened, rare Inyo rock daisy.
In February the Center and other groups formally petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the wildflower under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Ileene Anderson, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, said .“Now that the immediate threat of exploratory drilling is behind us, our goal is to get the daisy and its remote habitat protected for good.”
Nearly every population of the rock daisy and the largest population of newly described Inyo thread plant are found on mining claims in Conglomerate Mesa in Inyo County. Earlier this month the BLM’s local field office notified the mining company that a comprehensive environmental impact statement would be required before any additional exploratory mining work could be done.
The Inyo rock daisy is a rare wildflower found only at the highest elevations of the southern Inyo Mountains, between the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains and Death Valley National Park.
Conglomerate Mesa is part of the National Conservation Lands system as well as an area of critical environmental concern, but these public lands remain open for commercial extraction under the 1872 Mining Law.
(Editor’s Note: We’ve reached out to Mojave Precious Metals by email and voicemail for comment. Their Lone Pine corporate offices are “temporarily closed.”
This report is taken from Press Releases issued or supported by The Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, Friends of the Inyo, and other environmental organizations.
Active mining in Inyo County, which started approximately in the 1870s, continues today throughout the county. )