Monday, April 23, 2012

Molycorp and BrightSource Energy/Bechtel busy as beavers. Plus a gas pipeline going in up Collosseum Road above the Ivanpah site.

This post will be a work in progress and will be added to today and probably tomorrow. Currently I am sitting out in the shade at the country store off Cima
Road and I-15. I am about to head south into the Mojave National Preserve to try out the panorama feature on my Fuji digicam. I will close right now with a couple of panoramas, the first is the Mountain Pass area home of the Molycorp rare earth mine and second will be from the Ivanpah SEGS site. I will add more photos and a video later on, hopefully today.

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You can doubleclick on these and they will open in a new window. Note the 2 big , full parking lots in the above photo.

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The above photo shows that all 3 solar towers are now up, #1 appears almost complete,#3 is the least furthest along.

More later today. This portion posted at 10:02 in the morning.

Very poor job with the digicam, but watch to see the heliostat mirror field. Note the mowed down vegetation underneath.

This video added at 5:02pm.
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Above is a screenshot from the video showing completed heliostats in Solar 2, note the “mowed” vegetation underneath the
mirrors. This was added to the post at 8:02 am on 4/24/2012.

Wow! Look who just visited my little site.
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By coincidence, here is an investor’s information post published today about the Molycorp Mountain Pass mine, as regards the proven reserves available to be mined.
Overview of Molycorp Californian Rare Earth Deposit

And here is a previous post that I wrote regarding the Mountain Pass rare earth mine and a possible competitor opening up near the Wee Thump Joshua Tree Wilderness.
I guarantee our military would love to see these mines open up to ensure a continued supply of these raw materials.

Evidently all that new construction at Mountain Pass is Molycorp’s Project Phoenix, which is an 895 million dollar expansion so that more of the rare earths can be processed than ever before. Read about it and view photos here.
The above paragraph added 7:55 pm.

I planned on getting off at the Kokoweef exit, also known as Bailey Road to get a panorama shot of the Molycorp mine across the freeway, what a surprise to see all the new activity going on there, including new facilities being built and huge parking lots full of cars and trucks, plus semitrailers lined up to get through the security gate into the mine! I knew something was up. Here are a few record shots taken with the larger zoom on my new digicam.
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Above is a new open pit, or at least I don’t remember seeing it before.
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Below, for sure, is a new facility going up.
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And below also. You never used to see this many cars, and this is just part of one lot.
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And another even larger facility going up.
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I think these photos from this morning conclusively prove that Molycorp has been busy as a beaver! Now on to BrightSource/Bechtel.
The above was posted at 5:59 pm. I have to finish doing my laundry then I will come back to give you guys more information!
Oh, the glamorous world of blogging!

The first glimpse of the Solar 3 Tower at Ivanpah SEGS occurred as I neared the Nipton Road offramp sign. Here is the normal view.
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Below is the tower photo taken at maximum zoom.
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The next photograph shows all the solar towers lined up, from 3 to 1.
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Another panoramic photo taken where Yates Well Road deadends into the road going to the golf course and the project site.
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Below is a shot of the buildings where they assemble the heliostats, notice heliostatic mirrors already installed in the foreground. I estimate that at least 45-50% of the mirrors are up at Solar 3.
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Below is a closeup, at maximum zoom, of Solar 3 tower which as you can see is almost done.
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The next photo shows ongoing heliostat installation in Solar 3. By the way, those are large cranes, this was shot from way off.
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Next is another view of the Solar 3 tower installion work. I wonder what those round pipe sections are for?
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After finishing up here, I drove down the asphalt paved, and wide, road by Solar 2 where I filmed the earlier short video- what a horrible job, I should
have used my Canon digicam for the video- and drove up looking for the
Collosseum Road. The guard was very helpful, said at the fork, go left and it was marked public. This is the first thing that I saw, and these signs were on
both sides of this road spaced out.
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I rode up a ways looking to see if I could take the Morongomobile cross country
but the roads looked too rough, so I flagged down a water truck driver, a real nice and helpful guy, who told me that they were putting in a gas pipeline up the road and were trying to restore the land as it was as they went along, and he suggested entering through Whiskey Pete’s back gate and taking the powerline road as one of my friends told me via email a week or so ago.

So off I went back to the freeway and on to Primm at the stateline. But before we go there, here a couple of shots taken of the solar site from above the project site.
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I really like that panorama shot above. Too bad a giant solar farm is messing up the view, and the environment!
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In the photo above, the sacred metamorphic hill looms up behind the Solar 2 tower being constructed.
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Above are the golf course, freeway, the dry Ivanpah lakebed, the setup buildings, as well as completed heliostats in what is
Solar 3.
Below is the best shot that I could get of Solar 1, way in the distance. By the way, Solar 1 is where I took the photo that is used sometimes here as the top photo on the blog.
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After driving to Whiskey Pete’s, I did find the gate but the sign said no BLM so
I was unsure if I should drive out. Ultimately, I passed on driving in, figuring that
I had plenty of photos to use anyway.
Here is a link to great photos taken recently by the folks at Basin and Range Watch. They were able to climb the metamorphic hill!

I ended up making a quick visit to the Mojave National Preserve where I did take a couple of photos near Globe Mine Road where it comes out on Cima Road, near Kelso Depot.
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Don’t you just want to ride a bicycle up toward those mountains in the distance?
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On the way through Hesperia, I could see clouds at Cajon Pass. Well those clouds covered the sky all the way to Orange County. Within 3-4 miles, the
temperature outside went down from 94 to 54 degrees F. Unbelievable! Here
is a pic taken in Cajon Pass.
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525 miles and just now finishing up this post. It was an interesting day to say the least.

A note to all. You are welcome to use these photographs on your blogs or web
pages, just please leave the copyright information showing on the picture when
you use it.

That’s it, your ordeal is over. No more updates to this post.

I look forward to receiving links from some of you in a few weeks when you head up to Ivanpah and write about it.

Morongobill