Eureka – Correspondence – July 2015

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Eureka

Eureka is talking about open pit mining and vultures, and unlike the Comstock these are two different topics here.

midwaymachine300x200The mining news is bad: Midway Gold, proprietor of the Pan Project east of town, has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection because of their poor returns from the cyanide leach process so far, and has been delisted by the New York Stock Exchange. Coupled with the ongoing ups and downs of General Moly’s New Hope mine, the immediate mining outlook at the southern end of Eureka county is less than golden. However, Barrick is in the permit application process to reopen the Ruby Hill mine with substantial expansion, if the price of gold stays within reach of $1200/oz.

Main and Gold streets, Eureka NevadaThe vulture news isn’t so good either. After having the EPA remediation crew detoxify the big lot at the corner of Main and Gold Streets, the owner cut down the grove of tall firs and cottonwoods that shaded it in preparation for developing the lot.

These trees, though, were the habitual roosts for the vultures that come every autumn, and their annual return has been a Eureka tradition — just short of a festival — for years. Deprived of their familiar roosts, the birds moved up Main Street a few blocks to another likely grove and set up housekeeping there.

Unhappily, these trees shade a residence, not an empty lot, and in no time at all the home, the car, the yards front and back — everything beneath the new colony — was redolent with vulture poop. And as it turns out, vulture poop is toxic and the EPA won’t clean it up, so the beleaguered householder has been plinking at the birds with a non-lethal pellet gun in hopes of driving them away, without visible success.

 B.U. Hooper

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