RENO — A lawyer for environmentalists and tribal activists told a federal judge Monday that the government’s approval of a big gold mine was flawed and would prohibit the Western Shoshone from practicing religious rites on a mountain in Northern Nevada.
But attorneys for Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp. countered that not all Western Shoshone share the views of Carrie Dann and the Western Shoshone Defense Project, and that their arguments are without merit.
U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks, after a two-hour hearing, delayed ruling on a motion by tribal activists for a temporary restraining order to halt work on the 6,700-acre Cortez Hills Project that would include a 900-acre open mine pit 2,000-feet deep.
Instead he urged lawyers for the Western Shoshone and Barrick to reach agreement on what work can proceed without causing extensive environmental harm until another hearing on an injunction request is held.
Roger Flynn, attorney for the Western Shoshone Defense Project, South Fork Band Council, Timbisha Shoshone Tribe and Great Basin Resource Watch, said his clients don’t object to the entire project, just those aspects that would deface Mount Tenabo, a mountain about 250 miles east of Reno that is held sacred by some Shoshone members.