More money down mine hole

County ponies up for New Era reclamation costs

The ill-fated New Era Mine is still costing Butte County money.

On Tuesday (Sept. 27), supervisors agreed to transfer $70,000 from the general fund to help pay for reclamation of the mine site east of Butte College. It turns out the bond posted by the mine’s operator, North Continent Land & Timber, wasn’t sufficient to cover the full cost of reclamation, approximately $325,000.

The county also ran up a big bill unsuccessfully defending North Continent in court. County Counsel Bruce Alpert said the full amount hadn’t been toted up, but acknowledged that the money will never be paid back. “They have no assets,” he said.

A majority of the supervisors voted in 2008 to allow the much enlarged mining project to proceed using a 1981 permit and without doing an environmental-impact report, despite warnings from Supervisor Jane Dolan and others that it was illegal, as courts subsequently confirmed.