New Copper Mine Under Construction in Lyon County - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

New Copper Mine Under Construction in Lyon County

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Nevada Copper is in the process of building an underground mine at Pumpkin Hollow - a rural area about 8 miles southeast of downtown Yerington.

"There's nothing out there. There's no protected habitat. There's no environmental issues. It's a perfect mining situation," says Lyon County Manager Jeff Page.

Once the 2,140 feet deep mine shaft is complete, they will start mining more than one billion pounds of high-grade copper.

"To us, this is like hitting the mother lode. This is amazing," says Korin Barnes, Nevada Copper project geologist.

Equipment will be assembled inside the mine shaft and will remove ore from about 35 miles of tunnels resembling an underground city.

"Underground, we have to have a maintenance shop. We have to have a place to wash the vehicles, clean the vehicles out. We have to change the ore between loading buckets to trucks, to a conveyor system to feed into the buckets that are hoisted out of the ground, Nevada Copper Chief Mine Engineer Darin McDoniel.

The goal is to produce ore by the end of 2015 -- employing 400 people. 1,000 could be working there, once the open pit mining operation opens, a few years later.

"The mining industry has the highest paying jobs in the state. The average annual salary is about $85,000 a year, compared to the average of all in Nevada is $42,000," says Timothy Dyhr, Nevada Copper Vice President Environment and External Relations.

Studies show that each mining job creates an additional two-and-a-half jobs. "Besides the mining, you're going to have businesses that are going to come into the community and the county. They're going to support things from mechanics to grocery stores, to movie theaters, restaurants, bars," says Page.

Lyon County's unemployment rate is still at 11.5%.

Dyhr says this mine could cut that in half. "All the other rural mining counties, in Nevada, have somewhere between 6% unemployment and they've not even gotten up to 8%, even in the worst of times."

Officials say 5.2 billion pounds of copper could be mined there, in the next 20+ years providing more than $20-million of tax revenue a year.

Congress will be hearing a bill in the next couple of months that would transfer more than 10,000 acres, around Pumpkin Hollow to the City of Yerington. If passed, the land could be used for infrastructure, economic development, and even recreational space.

Written by Paul Nelson

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