The proposal by a Utah explosives company to use the former Barrick Bullfrog Mine Site to weld metals by the use of high explosives met its demise when it met with opposition from Barrick.
When Barrick turned the property over to the Beatty Economic Development Corporation, they did so with a substantial list of covenant restrictions. In a letter disallowing the explosives project, the company said, “these restrictions specifically included prohibitions against heavy manufacturing … and other environmentally sensitive issues.”
Barrick’s letter cited two restrictions that it felt would violate the covenants and a third that they felt might do so. “We are particularly concerned that the proposed use could result in contamination of the property and surrounding area, including the closed Bullfrog tailings impoundment.”
Despite the company’s rejection of this particular project, the letter concluded, “Notwithstanding our objection to this proposed use, Barrick continues to support the BEDC’s efforts to find an appropriate opportunity to return the property to economic use.”
The BEDC has been looking for such a client for over 10 years now, and one possibility after another has not panned out. The greatest interest in the property has been from solar energy developers, since the site is in the area of the best solar resource in North America and high-capacity electric power lines that served the mine when it was in operation are still in place.
The site is large enough for a 20-megawatt solar plant. It has also been evaluated for its potential for wind-powered electrical generation.
For a time, the town of Beatty paid the property taxes on the property, but in time the willingness to do so disappeared.
Meanwhile, a prospective solar power developer picked up the tab for the taxes and BEDC chairman Albert Verrilli says that there is still enough money left over from that source to pay the taxes for another year.
“It’s my intention to hold onto the property and try to get the kind of client out there we want and something good for the town,” says Verrilli.
He was naturally disappointed and discouraged when this last project was turned down, but he says he has new hope.
“There is some additional interest from other solar developers I’ve been in contact with in the last 10 days,” he says.
He also says there is a possibility of getting a grant from the Department of Energy to develop a request for proposals to put into circulation.
Verrilli refers to the requirements of a solar project as a “three-legged stool.” The three things necessary are the land, a power purchase agreement and transmission capability.
He also thinks the property might be a good location for things such as radio-controlled model airplane events.