State upholds water permit for huge Nevada mine

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - The Latest on a bid by environmentalists to get Nevada to rescind a water permit for a mining project they say would create an acidic open-pit lake that could pollute groundwater for hundreds of years (all times local):

6:55 p.m.

Nevada's state Environmental Commission has rejected conservationists' appeal of a water pollution control permit granted last year for a huge open-pit mine planned near Eureka about 250 miles (402 kilometers) east of Reno.

The Great Basin Resource Watch urged the panel Wednesday to rescind the permit for a molybdenum (muh-LIB'-duh-nuhm) mine the environmental watchdog says could pollute groundwater for centuries.

It says the permit granted for a subsidiary of Denver-based General Moly Inc. was based on a flawed calculation that dramatically underestimated the amount of contamination that will flow into the mile-wide (1.6 km-wide) pit when mining is complete and it begins to fill with water.

After hearing more than eight hours of testimony Wednesday, the commissioners upheld the permit on a 3-0 vote but issued a special directive for state environmental officers to work with the group to address its ongoing concerns.

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1:25 p.m.

It might take two days for the Nevada Environmental Commission to decide whether a company can develop an open-pit mine that critics say could pollute ground water for hundreds of years.

Panel Chairman Jim Gans calls an appeal begun Wednesday one of the most important the panel has heard in a long time.

Gans says he may continue the hearing Thursday.

Conservationists with Reno-based Great Basin Resource Watch want the state to rescind a permit for a molybdenum (muh-LIB'-duh-nuhm) mine that a subsidiary of Denver-based General Moly Inc. wants to dig near Eureka, Nevada. That's 250 miles (402 kilometers) east of Reno.

Their experts testified that approval last year was based on flawed calculations underestimating the amount of acid drainage that will fill the pit lake when mining is complete.

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7:20 a.m.

Conservationists are asking Nevada's Environmental Commission to rescind a state water permit for a mining project they say would create one of the largest open-pit operations in the country and could pollute Nevada's groundwater for hundreds of years.

The Great Basin Resource Watch plans to argue its appeal Wednesday in Carson City.

The Reno-based group and others have been fighting in federal court since 2012 to block the molybdenum (muh-LIB'-duh-nuhm) mine that a subsidiary of the Denver-based General Moly Inc.

It says the state water pollution control permit granted last year is based on a flawed computer model that underestimates the toxic threat to public health and the environment.

Molybdenum is a metal with a high melting point used to refine oil and make electrodes, missile and aircraft parts.

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