WestLand has been providing a range of environmental services at the Pinto Valley Mine for over 20 years. Originally known as the Castle Dome Mine that started underground operations in the early 1940s, Pinto Valley Mine is now an open pit copper and molybdenum mine with on-site sulfide and oxide ore processing. In addition to the open pit, major facilities include a mill and concentrator, solvent extraction/electrowinning plant, waste rock dumps, and tailings impoundments. The mine lies principally on private property, but partially extends onto surrounding public lands administered by the Tonto National Forest. During our tenure at the mine, three different firms have owned and operated the facility. We have worked with each firm and assisted in transitions during acquisition/divestiture.

WestLand’s assignments at Pinto Valley Mine have supported ongoing operations and assisted the owners in long-term planning. We have conducted biological and cultural resources surveys and jurisdictional delineations in compliance with federal laws and regulations such as the Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and Clean Water Act. Our biological work has included surveys for threatened and endangered species as well as evaluation of the site and vicinity as meeting critical habitat characteristics for selected species. We have prepared Biological Evaluations and a Wildlife Management Plan, as well as survey reports and flora and fauna inventories, and have supported ESA Section 7 consultations. We evaluated a segment of Pinto Creek for meeting criteria for designation as a Wild and Scenic River, and adjacent land for meeting wilderness area characteristics. Our cultural resources work included Class I and Class III surveys of over 5,000 acres of land, and we have supported NHPA Section 106 consultations, including coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office and local Native American tribes. We have prepared Historic Property Treatment Plans, conducted data recovery, and trained mine personnel on cultural resources sensitivity. Our jurisdictional delineations have included evaluations of onsite and nearby streams and drainages for meeting characteristics of “waters of the United States,” including hydrologic connection to traditionally navigable waters. We have coordinated with state and federal regulatory agencies for compliance with CWA Sections 303, 401, 402, and 404.

The technical work summarized above has been used in a variety of short- and long-term planning and permitting efforts over the life of WestLand’s involvement at the site, specifically for feasibility evaluations and conceptual, preliminary, and final design of various facilities as well as financial reporting obligations for the operator. Recently, we prepared a mining Plan of Operations for activities planned on adjacent National Forest System lands, including consolidation of prior NFS land use authorizations and new extensions of facilities onto NFS land. We are currently supporting the operator in the TNF’s National Environmental Policy Act evaluation of the Plan of Operations; an Environmental Impact Statement is in preparation and the final EIS is scheduled for 2020. Our work during the NEPA evaluation has included regular tactical and strategic planning with the operator, working with other firms (e.g., hydrogeologic and geotechnical consultants) on the project team, and coordination with the TNF and 3rd party NEPA contractor. 

About Pinto Valley Mine

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The Project

At A Glance

Project Pinto Valley Mine Environmental Support Services
Sector Environmental
Completed 2020

Project People

Avi Buckles, MA

Director, Cultural Resources

David Cerasale, PhD

Director, Environmental

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