Engineering & Mining Journal

JUL 2018

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2 E&MJ • MONTH 2018 FROM THE EDITOR This month, E&MJ devotes a signifi cant amount of coverage to environmental management, looking at two examples where two companies used their engineering expertise to reduce mining's impact on rivers. In "Remediation Helps Rescue a River," Steven Lange discusses the geology of Colorado's San Juan Caldera (cover photo) and the impact of Sunnyside Gold Corp.'s reclamation activities on the An- imas River watershed. Due to the regional geology, heavy metals have been leaching into this watershed for millions of years. That same geology attracted miners and the abandoned mines have ex- acerbated the problem. In the relatively short period of time that Sunnyside Gold Corp. operated, their reclamation activities lessened the environmental impact from some of those abandoned mines signifi cantly. On August 5, 2015, Environmental Restoration, a contractor working on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate contamination from abandoned mines in this district, accidentally released 3 million gallons of wa- ter from the Gold King mine portal into tributaries feeding the Animas River, which fouled downstream waterways. Following the discharge, more than 73 claims were fi led against the EPA seeking a total of $1.2 billion in damages to crops, livestock, contaminated wells, lost tourism business and local government expenses. In Jan- uary 2017, the agency said it had conducted a legal analysis and, citing sovereign immunity, said it would not pay the claims. New Mexico then turned its attention to the state of Colorado. The New Mexi- co Attorney General's Offi ce fi led a complaint against Colorado with the U.S. Su- preme Court, seeking damages and demanding that Colorado address problems at abandoned mines. In June 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear those arguments. Colorado's Attorney General said she believed that New Mexico should not have sued Colorado in the Supreme Court. She saw the U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case as a confi rmation. In February, a federal judge in New Mexico, Christina Armijo, said she would allow civil claims to proceed in consolidated lawsuits fi led against Environmental Restoration. The EPA contractor sought to dismiss the complaints, arguing that, as an operator, arranger or transporter, it was protected under Superfund regulations. Armijo ruled Environmental Restoration cannot be released from the lawsuits. Four lawsuits stemming from the Gold King discharge were subsequently consol- idated during April. Three of the suits were brought by residents of New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. The fourth was brought by the state of Utah. The four lawsuits will be heard before Chief Judge William P. Johnson's federal court in Albuquerque. Colorado's legislature has approved legal action against the company and federal government, but an offi cial lawsuit has not been fi led. Then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in March the federal government was close to fi nishing its assess- ment of the claims. Pruitt resigned his position as this edition was going to press. This wasn't the fi rst time a major discharge from a mine polluted these water- ways as this month's cover story documents. In this case, however, it wasn't a min- ing company that caused the problem so there was no bond to forfeit or owners to bankrupt. Determining who will pay for the Gold King breach will be complex. The ruling on sovereign immunity will have a tremendous impact on contractors working for the government as well as long-term liabilities for environmental engineers. Who Will Pay for the EPA's Mistake? This month, to environmental management, looking at two examples where two companies used their engineering expertise to reduce mining's impact on rivers. In "Remediation Helps Rescue a River," Steven Lange discusses the geology of Colorado's San Juan Caldera (cover photo) and the impact of Sunnyside Gold Corp.'s reclamation activities on the An- Steve Fiscor Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Steve Fiscor, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief sfi scor@mining-media.com Mining Media International, Inc. 11655 Central Parkway, Suite 306; Jacksonville, Florida 32224 USA Phone: +1.904.721.2925 / Fax: +1.904.721.2930 Editorial Publisher & Editor-In-Chief—Steve Fiscor, sfi scor@mining-media.com Associate Editor—Jennifer Jensen, jjensen@mining-media.com Technical Writer—Jesse Morton, jmorton@mining-media.com Contributing Editor—Russ Carter, rcarter@mining-media.com Latin American Editor—Oscar Martinez, omartinez@mining-media.com South African Editor—Gavin du Venage, gavinduvenage@gmail.com Graphic Designer—Tad Seabrook, tseabrook@mining-media.com Sales Midwest/Eastern U.S. & Canada, Sales—Victor Matteucci, vmatteucci@mining-media.com Western U.S., Canada & Australia, Sales—Frank Strazzulla, fstrazzulla@mining-media.com Scandinavia, UK & European Sales—Colm Barry, colm.barry@telia.com Germany, Austria & Switzerland Sales—Gerd Strasmann, info@strasmann-media.de Japan Sales—Masao Ishiguro, ma.ishiguro@w9.dion.ne.jp Production Manager—Dan Fitts, dfi tts@mining-media.com www.e-mj.com Engineering & Mining Journal, Volume 219, Issue 7, (ISSN 0095-8948) is published monthly by Mining Media International, Inc., 11655 Central Parkway, Suite 306, Jacksonville, FL 32224 (mining-media.com). Periodicals Postage paid at Jacksonville, FL, and additional mailing offi ces. Canada Post Publi- cations Mail Agreement No. 41450540. Canada return address: PO Box 2600, Mississauga ON L4T 0A8, Email: circulation@mining-media.com. Current and back issues and additional resources, including subscription request forms and an editorial calendar, are available at www.e-mj.com. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: Free and controlled circulation to qualifi ed subscrib- ers. Visit www.e-mj.com to subscribe. Non-qualifi ed persons may subscribe at the following rates: USA & Canada, 1 year, $90. Outside the USA & Can- ada, 1 year, $150. For subscriber services or to order single copies, contact E&MJ, c/o Stamats Data Management, 615 Fifth Street SE, Cedar Rapids IA 52401, 1-800-553-8878 ext. 5028 or email subscriptions@e-mj.com. ARCHIVES AND MICROFORM: This magazine is available for research and retrieval of selected archived articles from leading electronic databases and online search services, including Factiva, LexisNexis, and Proquest. For mi- croform availability, contact ProQuest at 800-521-0600 or +1.734.761.4700, or search the Serials in Microform listings at www.proquest.com. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to E&MJ, 11655 Central Parkway, Suite 306, Jacksonville, FL 32224-2659. REPRINTS: Mining Media International, Inc., 11655 Central Parkway, Suite 306, Jacksonville, FL 32224 USA; email: subscriptions@e-mj.com; phone: +1.904.721.2925, fax: +1.904.721.2930; www.mining-media.com. PHOTOCOPIES: Authorization to photocopy articles for internal corporate, personal, or instructional use may be obtained from the Copyright Clear- ance Center (CCC) at +1.978.750.8400. Obtain further information at copyright.com. EXECUTIVE OFFICE: Mining Media International, Inc., 11655 Central Park- way, Suite 306, Jacksonville, FL 32224 USA phone: +1.904.721.2925, fax: +1.904.721.2930, www.mining-media.com. COPYRIGHT 2018: Engineering & Mining Journal, incorporating World Mining Equipment, World Min- ing and Mining Equipment International. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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