Authors: Lange, S

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DOI https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1915_99_Lange

Cite As:
Lange, S 2019, 'Evaluating the effectiveness of Sunnyside Gold Corporation’s reclamation, San Juan County, Colorado, USA', in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 1255-1266, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1915_99_Lange

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Abstract:
The Animas River in the area around Silverton, San Juan County, Colorado has been adversely impacted by high loading of iron, aluminium, cadmium, copper, lead, zinc, arsenic, and nickel. Metals loading in the Animas River has limited aquatic life, including the trout fishery downstream from Silverton. The metals concentrations in the Animas River is due to acid rock drainage formed from a combination of natural weathering of mineralised rocks and residues from over 100 years of historic mining. Sunnyside Gold Corporation (SGC) was formed and acquired the Sunnyside Mine in the Upper Animas basin in 1985. SGC operated the mine from 1986 until 1991 using modern techniques and under strict environmental regulation, and has engaged in more than 30 years of reclamation and remediation in the Silverton Caldera. This included removal of mine waste from owned and other area mines, treatment of water discharged from mine portals, seasonal treatment of the flow in Cement Creek, installation of bulkheads in mine workings, and stabilisation of tailings deposits. Evaluation of long-term monitoring results demonstrates that SGC’s actions have substantially reduced acid rock drainage and metals loading in the Animas River compared to what would have otherwise been the case.

Keywords: reclamation, remediation, water quality, metals loading, Animas River, bulkheads

References:
Besser, JM & Brumbaugh, WG 2007, ‘Status of Stream Biotic Communities in Relation to Metal Exposure’, in SE Church, P von Guerard & SE Finger (eds), Integrated Investigation of Environmental Effects of Historical Mining in the Animas River Watershed, San Juan County, Colorado, US Geological Survey, Reston.
Church, SE, von Guerard, P & Finger, SE 2007, Integrated investigations of environmental effects of historical mining in the Animas River watershed, San Juan County, Colorado, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston.
Jones, WR 2007, ‘History of Mining and Milling Practices and Production in San Juan County, Colorado, 1871-1991’, in SE Church, P von Guerard & SE Finger (eds), Integrated Investigation of Environmental Effects of Historical Mining in the Animas River Watershed, San Juan County, Colorado, US Geological Survey, Reston.
Sunnyside Gold Corporation v Colorado Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, case no. 94-CV-5450 (May 8, 1998).
US Geological Survey 2007, Environmental Effects of Historical Mining in the Animas River Watershed, Fact Sheet 2007-3051, Colorado.




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