The Kern County Planning Commission unanimously approved the Project at its regularly scheduled meeting in Bakersfield on April 8, 2010. All appeals that were subsequently filed against the Commission’s decision were withdrawn and the decision made by the Planning Commission was final in 2010. The Bureau of Land Management confirmed that its Record of Decision approving the Plan of Operations under NEPA in November 1997 also remains valid.
The State of California introduced backfilling requirements for certain types of open pit metal mines in December 2002. Norwest has prepared life-of-mine waste rock management plans and these plans incorporate sequential backfilling of mined-out phases of the open pit with limited double-handling of waste rock at the end of the mine life.
The Company announced that the Kern County Planning and Community Development Department approved the additional information submitted by the Company in regards to Condition 107 of the Conditional Use Permits for the Project in a news release on July 12, 2012.
Under Condition 107 of the Conditional Use Permits, the Company was required to submit, prior to the commencement of mining, additional information relating to closure and closing reclamation for the Project. The Company submitted the required information to the Planning Department on November 28, 2011 and again on June 8, 2012. In accordance with the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975, the Planning Department consulted the State Department of Conservation/Office of Mine Reclamation (the “OMR”). The OMR confirmed in a letter to the Planning Department dated June 29, 2012 that the information provided by the Company adequately demonstrated compliance with Condition 107.