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FIND project recognized for sustainable development

Posted 1/19/2011

Lander County’s Future Industrial Needs Discover (FIND) project recently received the Bureau of Land Management’s Community Outreach and Security award for its contributions towards creating sustainable development strategies between local communities and mining industries.

The FIND project, headed by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Educator Rod Davis and local community leaders, seeks to develop strategies to help incorporate mining infrastructure. A survey of Lander County residents by Davis revealed that most residents felt that they needed a stronger economic base as an alternative to the boom-bust cycle of the mining industry. One approach has been to attract businesses that can utilize the remnant infrastructure from retired mines, such as transportation, power and water systems.

“We’re talking about changing what this community will look like in 20 years,” Davis said. “There are companies whose infrastructure needs match what’s in place at the mines.”

First presented in 2003, the annual BLM Reclamation and Sustainable Mineral Development Awards recognize the efforts of programs striving to implement sustainable development strategies, balancing environmental, economic and social concerns in planning for mining operations. According to the BLM, four awards are presented to operations that showcase the finest examples of environmental health, social responsibility and economic security.

“These awards are all about development that meets the non-fuel mineral needs of the present generation, without compromising the needs for future generations,” BLM Director Bob Abbey said. “All of this year’s winners illustrate the BLM’s concept of sustainable development.”

The FIND project has received more than $250,000 in grant funds, and, in about a year, will approach the Lander Economic Development Authority with a marketing package to attract businesses. The project has also enrolled the help of Battle Mountain High School students and other University of Nevada Cooperative Extension specialists to help survey local businesses and gain a better understanding of the community. Davis felt that the inclusion of local youth was important in teaching them “the value of community engagement.”

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