Conglomerate Mesa is a desert region, situated next to Death Valley National Park in California, in the USA . Conglomerate Mesa is the traditional homeland of the Timbishia Shoshone and Paiute Tribal Nations . For both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, Conglomerate Mesa is an important environmental and cultural territory .
However, Conglomerate Mesa is at risk due to a gold mine project. Namely, Canadian mining company K2 Gold has been developing an open-pit cyanide heap leach gold mine project there. The project has completed Phase 1 of its exploration .
Local residents and environmental groups found out about the project on a routine monitoring trip in April 2020. Friends of the Inyo group discovered that K2 Gold began work on the Mesa .
Local people and environmentalists are especially concerned about the project because Cyanide heap leach mining is banned in some states . Furthermore, the method is known to produce high rates of toxicity in lands and waters . Local people argue and add that "cyanide heap leach project will have devastating consequences for tribal homelands, biodiversity, and recreation in the area" .
Furthermore, the company explored an area three times larger than their permit allowed, according to locals . For instance, Friends of the Inyo reported that the company adopted the 7-drill site helicopter exploration project but they submitted an expanded proposal requesting road construction into the Mesa and 30 additional drill sites .
The people of Inyo County have made it clear: "An open-pit cyanide heap leach gold mine and any associated exploratory drilling is not welcome at Conglomerate Mesa" . Friends of the Inyo together with a coalition of conservation groups, individuals, businesses, recreators, tribal representatives have organized against the project  The coalition argues that Conglomerate Mesa "deserves trees, not drill holes a thousand feet deep" . They argue that Death Valley’s Doorstep deserves "quiet nights with a full blanket of stars, not noise and light pollution ". "There is no place for a cyanide heap-leach mine on our public lands". "K2 Gold wants to mine the entire mountain, but together we will stop them ."
According to Friends of the Inyo, the lands K2 aims to mine are called Payahuunadu or Panawe by the Nuumu and Newe peoples, respectively. This land acknowledgment is a recognition of the original inhabitants of the Eastern Sierra, and shows respect for Native peoples and to surface the often-suppressed colonial history of the US . Since the locals found out about the project, several protests have been taking place in order to protect Mesa against K2 Gold's Cyanide heap leach mining .