September 21, 2015 Update:

Kirkland Mining withdrew their mineral materials (sand, gravel, "saleable" minerals) plan of operation for the Skull Valley site. The company then submitted a mining notice under the 43 CFR 3809 "locatable minerals" regulations, which is a non-discretionary action. 

BLM may ensure that such operations are exploratory rather than commercial in nature, disturb no more than 5 acres, do not cause unnecessary and undue degradation, and require a bond to ensure land restoration. The public lands in the Skull Valley area, like most public lands, are open to mineral entry. Because a notice-level mining operation is non-discretionary, it does not have to be approved by the BLM, and the BLM may only require environmental review if the operation is to grow beyond the notice-level operation. 

The notice-level operation allows for up to 5 acres of surface disturbance and collection of a bulk sample of material up to 1,000 tons. Once the BLM processes Kirkland Mining's reclamation bond, received Friday, the company may begin likely within 30 days to remove a portion of the stockpile of material from the Skull Valley mine site. Stockpile and quarry sampling is expected to be completed within 180 days. Kirkland Mining will also drill 7 core holes in the surrounding area. These exploratory core holes will be approximately 4 inches in diameter and 75 feet deep on average. 

At this time, we do not know whether the pozzolan in the Skull Valley stockpile and surrounding area rate as a common variety mineral material or a distinct and special value locatable mineral. Depending on its qualities, pozzolan may be either. The operation that Kirkland Mining Company is allowed to undertake under its exploratory mining notice will produce the material samples and market assessment for us to make the locatable mineral determination. The attached "Locatable Determination" document explains the considerations for making such a determination. 

Under the Mining Law of 1872 and the BLM's 43 CFR 3809 regulations, 1,000 tons of material is the maximum amount that may be collected for purposes of geological and chemical testing, and market assessment. 

The BLM assesses and documents the site of an operation beforehand. During and following the operation, BLM Geologists inspect the site to ensure no unnecessary or undo degradation occurs to the land. The BLM inspects the reclamation of the site prior to returning all or part of the operator's reclamation bond.


David “Rem” Hawes, BLM Field Manager