After the federal report showed Nevada ranked as the top state in the nation in the release of toxic chemicals per square mile in 2017 because of the mining industry, officials at Round Mountain Gold Corporation that owns Round Mountain Gold Mine answered questions about their operations.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory” is a dataset that contains information on the release and waste management of nearly 650 toxic chemicals as reported annually by facilities in certain industries as well as federal facilities, according to the EPA’s website.
According to the 2019 Toxic Release Inventory National Analysis, Nevada was first in total releases per square mile and second in overall total releases. The data showed that 148 facilities in the state managed toxic materials in 2017 and generated nearly 400 million pounds of releases.
Nye County had a total of five facilities that produced releases a total of 18.02 million pounds of releases. Total releases per square mile were 990,91 pounds, according to the report.
Among the facilities in Nye County were Round Mountain Gold Mine, Nevada National Security Site, Tonopah Test Range and U.S. Ecology Nevada Inc. Site in Beatty.
The data showed that Round Mountain also known as Smoky Valley Common Operation produced6,745,715 total onsite releases and had 8,125, 717 of total waste managed.
The report didn’t show any offsite releases.
The report said that Newmont Mining Corp. was the first in state after releasing a total of 230 million pounds of releases.
Emily Hendrickson, a corporate social responsibility specialist at Round Mountain Gold Corporation, said that Round Mountain is “strongly” committed to responsible mining, environmental stewardship, and ensuring the mining process does not pose a risk to people, the environment or wildlife at our operations and in the local community.
“We maintain transparency and regular contact with Nevada and federal regulators to ensure our operations meet or exceed the high environmental standards and strict regulatory limits that have been set,” Hendrickson said in an email.
Hendrickson said that Round Mountain Gold Corporation undertakes “a variety of measures” to ensure that no harmful materials pose a threat to human health, the environment or wildlife.
“This includes operating as a zero discharge operation, which means that we do not release any potentially harmful materials, using state-of-the-art emission controls, and safely containing materials in engineered facilities,” Hendrickson said.
Mining operations use a broad range of materials during the mining and production process, and consumption of those materials are optimized, recycled and re-used wherever possible.
“At all times, materials are handled and disposed of safely, and in compliance with our permits, laws, and regulations. Our operations are under continuous and rigorous monitoring, and consistently seek opportunities to be more efficient,” Hendrickson said.
The Round Mountain Gold Mine is located about 55 miles north of Tonopah. It was a joint venture between Barrick Gold and Kinross Gold until 2016 when Barrick Gold sold 50 percent of its interest in the Round Mountain mine.
Hendrickson said that Round Mountain has been a “successful and responsible operation” for more than 25 years, and is “an active and committed member of the local community, contributing to many local organizations in education, health, and other areas important to the way of life in rural Nevada.