Offshore Mining Regulatory Processes—A Case Study

by Lee Ann Gardner, ENSR Consulting and Engineering, Anchorage, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '93


This is a case study of the process used in permitting the Nome Offshore Placer Project (NOPP), a gold mining project offshore Nome, Alaska, which operated from 1985 through 1990. The offshore gold mining project, developed by Western Gold Exploration and Mining Company, Limited Partnership (WestGold), used the BIMA, which was at the time the largest bucketline mining vessel in the world. This case study reviews the permitting process from the regulators' and industry's perspectives, as well as characterizing the efficiencies and inefficiencies associated with this case. The Federal, State, and local laws applicable to the NOPP are identified, agency jurisdiction and interagency relationships are described, and the permitting process is examined with respect to the regulatory requirements. The case study of the NOPP is detailed with respect to agency involvement and coordination, the approaches to permitting from both the regulators' and developers' perspective, environmental issues, and the permit stipulations that were unique to the project. The advantages and disadvantages of these topics are discussed with respect to the regulators and the developers. Permitting approaches used by WestGold that contributed to a more efficient approval process are also identified. This work was performed under a contract for the U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBOM).

Subject Headings: Case studies | Project management | Laws and regulations | Jurisdiction | Permits | Ships | Industries | Federal government | Alaska | United States

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