News Releases

Pipeline Project Benefits Gold Mine, Power Plant and Groundwater Basin

Jun 25, 1997

Sierra Pacific Power Company
Contact: Karl Walquist/Robert Sagan
Phone: (775)834-4345

For Immediate Release

Construction is complete on a new pipeline that will deliver excess water from the Newmont Gold Company Lone Tree Complex gold mine near Battle Mountain to Sierra Pacific Power Company?s Valmy Power Plant. The project is a partnership of Sierra Pacific and the mining company.

By using water from the Lone Tree Mine?s dewatering operation in its power plant cooling towers, Sierra Pacific will save approximately $200,000 annually in pumping and chemical treatment costs, according to John Seeliger, senior power production engineer for Valmy.

The project also ensures less groundwater will be pumped from the Clovers Area Groundwater Basin and released into the Humboldt River, according to Mark Evatz, chief engineer for the Lone Tree Mine and the project manager.

With the new pipeline, Sierra Pacific will need to continue using only two or three of the 22 wells that currently provide water for the 500 megawatt, coal-fired power plant, Seeliger said. The purpose of the cooling towers, where the water will be supplied, is to provide cooling water to the steam condensers, which condense steam produced by the power plant?s boilers back into water for reuse. The cooling towers use from 2,500 to 5,000 gallons of water per minute, depending on the operation of the power plant, Seeliger said.

The $1.5 million project consists of a four-mile long polyethylene pipeline between the Lone Tree Mine and Valmy, and a pump station with five 100-horsepower pumps to supply water to the power plant. Lone Tree paid for the pipeline and pumping station; Sierra Pacific paid to provide electric service to the pumping station and for electrical controls required to operate the facility. The operations and maintenance responsibilities will be shared by the two companies.

Project construction began in July 1996.

"It was great to see two companies cooperate and make something happen," said John Mansanti, mine operations manager for Lone Tree."As a result, less water will have to be pumped out of the Clovers Area Groundwater Basin, benefiting all of the local groundwater users."