Native American Group Sues to Stop Gold Mining on Sacred Site

November 25, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: First Amendment Center

Wire Service: AP

A group of American Indians has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management to stop an open-pit gold mining project in Nevada that tribal members say will disrupt a mountain used for religious and cultural purposes.

The group of members of the Western Shoshone tribe says the mountain is sacred, and their lawyer said the government must respect that. The lawsuit was filed last week in federal court.

“The area is home to local Shoshone creation stories, spirit life, medicinal, food and ceremonial plants and items and continues to be used to this day by Shoshone for spiritual and cultural practices,” the group said in a statement.

The Cortez Hills project in Lander County includes open-pit and underground mining. Barrick Gold Corp. plans to have the operation mine roughly 1 million ounces of gold each year in its first five years. The project has an initial capital budget of $500 million.