A 23-acre surface aggregate mine on the Carrizo Plain that will be used initially to provide aggregate for the solar projects planned for the plain has received the go-ahead from the Board of Supervisors.
The board approved the operation Tuesday over the objections of a handful of opponents, who argued that the process by which it received approval is flawed, and warned that the mine would create water, dust and other problems.
Planners expect the mine to produce as much as 100,000 tons of siltstone and sandstone over 30 years, with a total capacity over time of 1,672,500 tons. It will be used initially to fill the aggregate needs of the recently approved California Valley Solar Ranch and Topaz Solar Farm projects.
After that the uses will expand.
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The so-called Twisselman Mine is located approximately four miles east of Soda Lake Road and three miles north of Highway 58. The applicants are Roland and Katherine Twisselman.
Opponents said the mine has been operating without a permit since at least 2005 — some said it has been doing so for decades — and one of the conditions of approval is that the Twisselmans pay the fines for their unpermitted endeavors.
Environmental coordinator Ellen Carroll said opponents’ concerns had been addressed by conditions of approval the county placed on the mine.
Planners and the applicant said the nearest similar mine is more than 20 miles away.