9th Circuit Refused to Block Nevada Gold Mine Plan

ELKO, Nev. (AP) - A federal appeals court has refused an emergency request to block construction of a huge gold mine in northeast Nevada that tribal leaders and others oppose on environmental and religious grounds.

A two-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the opponents' request for an injunction pending an appeal of a federal judge's ruling in Reno last month upholding the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's backing of Barrick Gold of North America's Cortez Hills Project in Lander County.

Lou Schack, the Toronto-based company's manager of communications and community affairs, applauded the ruling issued Wednesday.

"So far, two courts and three judges have refused to halt this project. We believe that this latest decision again reflects the quality of the planning and thorough study that led to approval of the project," Schack told the Elko Daily Free Press.

The Great Basin Resource Watch and the Western Shoshone claim the BLM's review of the proposed mine ignores some of the environmental effects and disregards tribal leaders' concerns the 2,000-foot deep open pit will destroy a sacred landmark on Mount Tenabo 250 miles east of Reno.

Roger Flynn, a lawyer with the Western Mining Action Project in Colorado representing the plaintiffs, said he wasn't surprised by the court's refusal to grant his clients' emergency motion. The appeal now moves into the briefing stage for a hearing before a three-judge panel at the 9th Circuit.

"Federal courts rarely grant emergency motions. The real fight now is with the three-judge panel," Flynn said.

Information from: Elko Daily Free Press,

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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