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U.S. EPA invites media to view cleanup activity at Anaconda Mine site

Release Date: 09/28/2006
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano ( - or 415-760-5421 (cell) 415-947-4307 (desk) Tom Dunkelman, cell 775-721-4712

Work on new 4-acre evaporation pond in before rainy season

(San Francisco, Calif. -- (09/282006) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is conducting work at the Anaconda Mine site to construct and line heap leach evaporation ponds before the fall and winter rain season to prevent overflow of mine drainage.

Work began in early September, draining the existing ponds, construction of a new 4-acre evaporation pond and prepping other ponds for repairs. Lining of the newly constructed 4-acre evaporation pond with heavy-gauge plastic liner will continue through early October. Repairs to other ponds will continue through the end of October.

“The system of ponds and drainage at the site has not been sufficient to capture contaminated water associated with the heap leach system,” said Tom Dunkleman, the EPA’s Superfund on-scene coordinator for the Pacific Southwest region. “Work is proceeding well and we are confident that system upgrades and repairs will be completed prior to the winter rains.

There are three main components to the latest work by the EPA at the Anaconda mine.

A new 4-acre evaporation pond is being constructed in order to provide sufficient storage capacity for heap leach fluids and storm water run-off.

Work is also ongoing on repairs and upgrades to the “slot pond” in order to increase the storage capacity of draindown from the “slot heap.”

Finally EPA will construct an interceptor trench to capture draindown from a heap leach pad, before it enters the “Megapond,” which has been determined to be beyond repair.

To date, cost of the emergency clean up work is approximately $809,000. The budget for the project is $1.5 million.

Originally known at the Empire Nevada Mine, the site began operation around 1918. In 1953, Anaconda Minerals Company acquired and began operating the site. In 1977, Atlantic Richfield Company acquired Anaconda and assumed its operations. In June 1978, Atlantic Richfield terminated operations and in 1982, Atlantic Richfield sold its interests in the private lands within the site to Don Tibbals, a local resident, who subsequently sold his interests with the exception of the Weed Heights community to Arimetco, Inc. the current owner. Arimetco operated a copper recovery operation from existing ore heaps within the site from 1989 to November 1999. Arimetco has terminated operations at the site and is currently managed under the protection of the United States Bankruptcy Court in Tucson, Ariz.