Barrick’s Expansion or Our Natural Heritage?

By Tyler Nickle

If you were to visit Barrick Gold’s Bald Mountain site, you could almost be impressed by it. The labyrinth of terraced steps carved into the earth show the power of human industry and ingenuity. But that’s only when you squint. Take another look, and you’ll see an industrial landscape that represents a major disruption to the earth’s ecology and geology, and that disruption could get worse soon: Barrick Gold is currently working to expand its open-pit mine at Bald Mountain by several thousand acres.

Mule deer

According to a recent report prepared for Nevada’s Department of Wildlife, the expansion cuts across a migration corridor used by Nevada’s largest deer herd. The deer migrate during winter, a season when every calorie counts and when food is scarce. The deer have found reliable stopover sites near the Bald Mountain mine with adequate resources that they return to each season. The additional acres of “surface disturbance” Barrick proposes will send the deer scrambling, impacting the herd’s health.

This isn’t just about the deer. Nevada’s landscapes are ecologically fragile places, and the deer herd’s health could have consequences for other living things, things that we have a collective stewardship over. The herd is a resource we Nevadans share in common, a natural heritage like the public lands that we all enjoy. Years ago, Woody Guthrie crooned that “this land is your land,” and maybe it’s time remind Barrick of that fact. Let Barrick and their BLM landlords know you oppose the destruction of our natural heritage by posting a comment to the BLM’s feedback page. Use the drop-down menus to submit your comment directly to the Bald Mountain Field Office.