Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

The Baker County Planning Commission will meet Thursday evening in Baker City to consider a proposal to allow mining near Bridgeport, south of Dooley Mountain.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at the Courthouse, 1995 Third St.

Auburn Creek Ranch LLC has applied for a conditional use permit to allow mining in the exclusive farm use and timber-grazing zones.

The business owns about 2,730 acres along Bridgeport Lane, according to county assessor's office records.

The property is about a mile and a half north of the Burnt River Canyon Road, and about four miles east of the junction of the Burnt River Canyon Road and the Dooley Mountain Highway.

Kimberly Wirth of Long Creek is the registered agent for Auburn Creek Ranch LLC, according to the Oregon Secretary of State's Corporation Division.

Philip Worth is the proposed mining operator, according to the application to the county, written by Jan Alexander of Unity.

According to the application, most of the area where mining is proposed is rangeland with scattered sagebrush and juniper trees. Parts of the area have been mined in the past, leaving rock piles with little vegetation.

One 10-acre site "has been mined in the past and the exploration that has taken place in other areas of the ranch and on adjacent BLM claims has shown minable values are present in the gold bearing gravels," according to the application.

The owners want to set up a mobile process plant to test rock samples, and install a portable wash plant next to a placer deposit. The owners also propose to crush rock left from previous underground mining and process the ore with the wash plant.

No more than five acres would be mined at a time, and reclamation of those areas would happen when new areas are opened, according to the application.

"When exploration is complete, the plan is to drill a well and begin mining on a larger scale," the application reads. "Auburn Creek Ranch, LLC will employ 6-10 full time miners after values are established through a thorough test program and mining commences."