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Solar project eyed for Liberty Complex mining site near Tonopah

About 30 minutes north of Tonopah sits the Liberty Mine Complex, which was acquired by a company called Pathfinder Development Corp. in 202. With new ownership comes new project development and new goals.

As part of its mining operations, Pathfinder Tonopah, a branch of Pathfinder Development, plans to construct a 20-megawatt photovoltaic solar energy generation system. Company officials went before the Nye County Commission Tuesday to discuss those plans and give some insights into what the future will hold for the Liberty Complex under Pathfinder Tonopah’s management.

Ann Carpenter, a lead environmental, social and government consultant for Pathfinder Development, and Sean Kilgrow, an energy expert with Pathfinder, presented background on the site.

“We are advancing the old Anaconda Hall Mine,” Carpenter explained. “The (Liberty) Complex has seen a complex development history. Anaconda started looking in the 40s but really did development from the late 70s and operationally until the mid-1980s. Cyprus Minerals took it over in the 1980s through the 1990s and then Equatorial picked it up from the previous owners and operated from the 1990s to the early 2000s. General Moly picked it up in the 2000s until mid-2021 at which point Pathfinder picked it up.”

Carpenter said the goal is to advance both copper and molybdenum production at the complex but there is also the potential for other mineral mining as well.

“Pathfinder’s objective is to look at all the minerals on the project. We have been able to identify silver resources, and there is a forward looking statement if you will, that hasn’t been identified in the past, or recognized, so we feel very excited about that,” Carpenter told commissioners, adding, “Our goal is to feather in energy production in support of the mine complex.”

The Liberty Complex comprises roughly 17,000 acres of land, both private lands and those administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The 1,500 acres selected for the planned solar field are privately owned and are labeled as “brownfield” lands. As defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a brownfield is: “property, the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.”

With these acres considered brownfield lands, as well as the condition of the land itself, Pathfinder feels they are ideally suited for solar development.

“I think the key point here is a reuse of a brownfield site in an industrial application,” Kilgrow stated, noting that there is very little grading that will need to be done to make the site solar-ready.

Nye County Commission Chair Frank Carbone remarked that the property outlined for the solar field does not have much in the way of residential development around it. “So that’s a good thing,” he said, while commissioner Debra Strickland said she is very supportive of solar development on private, rather than public, lands.

Commissioner Bruce Jabbour, who represents the Tonopah area, said he too was in favor of the project. “I know Ann and I’ve been at a couple of events with her. She’s professional, she knows the county, she knows Nevada, she knows what she’s doing… I look forward to working with you in the future on these projects.”

For more information on Pathfinder visit www.PathfinderDevCo.com or call 775-451-4332.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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