Major construction to revitalize Anaconda Mine to commence summer 2021
Major construction to revitalize former Anaconda Mine Site to commence summer 2021
Lyon County, NV – The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) is pleased to announce commencement of the first major construction phase of the sweeping Anaconda Mine Site clean-up project, slated to break ground in August 2021. In just three years since the U.S. EPA transferred oversight of the Anaconda Mine revitalization project to NDEP, significant and sustained progress has been made to propel this critical project forward. Breaking ground on the first major construction phase marks a key project milestone underscoring NDEP’s commitment to ensuring Atlantic Richfield Company completes the revitalization work at the site on schedule. This important milestone is supported by years of robust coordination and planning with all stakeholders, extensive environmental studies, preliminary groundwork, as well as in-depth community engagement with key stakeholders and area residents. The full clean-up for the entire site, which consists of three phases, is on track for completion by 2029.
“Breaking ground on this major construction phase marks a significant and highly-anticipated milestone in our plan to successfully expedite protective cleanup of the historic Anaconda Mine Site,” said Greg Lovato, NDEP Administrator. “We will continue applying the best available science to ensure that current and future activities are protective of public health and the natural environment, and I thank our State, Federal, Tribal, and Community partners for their ongoing collaboration and support. We look forward to continuing a phased cleanup approach to ensure a healthy, vibrant, sustainable future for Mason Valley residents.”
Justin Abernathy, Deputy State Director of Minerals Management, Bureau of Land Management - Nevada State Office, added: “The start of the heavy construction phase is an important step in the phased approach to successfully and permanently cleaning up the Anaconda Mine Site. Effective collaboration and coordination between federal, state, tribal, local government, and community partners, along with the application of the best available science, best management practices and, where appropriate, innovative approaches have been and will continue to be critical to achieving our shared goal of cleaning up the site. The BLM Nevada thanks all of our partners and looks forward to continuing our collaborative efforts.”
This first phase of the Anaconda Mine clean-up plan includes the installation of five new fluid management ponds (completed in 2020), recontouring and capping over 260 acres of mine landscape features to protect water quality, and constructing stormwater controls. These improvements will protect groundwater quality and minimize the amount of acidic drain-down fluid resulting from precipitation so that it can be more effectively controlled in the newly constructed lined evaporation ponds.
Regular status updates and specific timelines will be announced in advance of the project breaking ground in August 2021. Additionally, NDEP will continue to require Atlantic Richfield Company to monitor all identified, as well as potential, mine-related groundwater contamination on an ongoing basis.
Background: In February 2018, the EPA and the State of Nevada entered into a deferral agreement with EPA, designating NDEP as the lead regulatory agency to oversee and expedite the Anaconda Mine remediation project while maintaining EPA equivalent protection standards. Since transferring the Anaconda Mine remediation project from the EPA to NDEP oversight, numerous project activities have been completed, with funding provided by Atlantic Richfield Company. As a foundation of the project, NDEP developed a definitive and transparent project timeline that has been key to initiating and accelerating construction work. Site activities completed in the last year include geotechnical investigations in support of mine reclamation, cultural investigations, construction of five new fluid management system ponds, and completion of a comprehensive groundwater study capturing 15 years of scientific data and data evaluation.
Based on findings from a recent EPA report, the nation’s backlog of unfunded Superfund projects is at its largest in 15 years, due to a significant and growing lack of funding for the Superfund program. The Superfund program, established in 1980, authorized a tax on oil and chemical industries to fund cleanups nationwide. In 1995, the tax expired and was never reauthorized by Congress. The expiration of this tax has increased the nation’s backlog of unfunded Superfund sites. The deferral and associated agreements between NDEP and Atlantic Richfield Company ensures funding will remain available for this cleanup. Spanning across more than 260 acres of land, the upcoming heavy construction phase will be funded with over $32 million from Atlantic Richfield Company and approximately $2.7 million from hazardous waste disposal fees.
For more information about the Anaconda Copper Mine Site cleanup project, please visit ndep.nv.gov/land/abandoned-mine-lands/anaconda-home.