Rock pile, stunted growth are legacy of old mine

This is a reformat & reprint of an Article on the Callahan Mine originally printed in the Bangor Daily News August 14, 1979 which will make it easier to quote & refer to its content. ( Thank you Eric A. Tuttle For retyping this entire article  . Here is the original),5635120

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first installment of a two-part series dealing with the legacy of the Callahan Maine on Cape Rosier.

By Jean Heavrin

NEWS Hancock Bureau

(First of two articles)

 HARBORSIDE — The local people call it goose feathers, the downy foam created at Goose Cove in Harborside, where the Penobscot Bay touches the tidal inlet of Goose Pond. The fresh and salt water mixing just right causes the airy fluff to form and often seem to bury boats moored in the cove.

 It looks at first glance to be a typical case of water pollution. But it’s not.

 The pollution at Goose Cove is not in the water, but what lies just beneath it — a talcose layer of fine silt containing heavy metals deposited by the Callahan Mining Co. when it ran the zinc and copper mine at Goose Pond from 1967 to 1972.

 That layer of silt and other legacies of the mine are the concern of a little group of people who make up the Goose Pond Reclamation Society. Its annual meeting will be held Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. in the Brooksville Town House, and president Albert Sandecki has suggested that the organization be dissolved. The GPRS was formed by Callahan Mine in 1971 to be a sounding board for local opinions and concerns over the reclamation of the mine. The mining company gave the group of local residents, state agency representatives and mine representatives $1000 to work with.

Callahan Mining Co. is exempt from the state’s mining reclamation law, which went into effect in 1969, because the mine was in operation at the time, and it is supposedly “grandfathered” out of the legislation.

“An operator shall not be required to provide, in a mining plan, for the reclamation of land affected by mining operations prior to Oct. 1, 1969, but shall be required to provide for the reclamation of land affected by a mining operation subsequent to Oct. 1,1969″, the law reads.

Paula Cambridge in the Department of Environmental Protection office in Bangor, said her office considers the land affected to be surface land the fact that the land continued to be affected (dug, piled, blasted) after Oct. 1, 1969 therefore does not apply, since the same surface area was in use.

 Fred Beck, who was vice president of Callahan Mining Co. and a member of GPRS until last year, affirmed that the mining company was “never under any obligation to do any reclamation.”

 Callahan leased 68-acre Goose Pond, a state tidal estuary, from the state, and drained it to get at the ore body beneath it. The company blasted a hole 380-feet deep and paid a reported $20,000 to the state in royalties over the five-year period.

 Part of the state mining lease says, “Lessee will cooperate with Lessor, its various agencies and the other officials of the town of Brooksville… in the planning, funding, and implementation of a program for the rehabilitation of the said lands upon the completion of the mining activities thereon. The details of such program, including the funding and administration of the same and the source of funds to accomplish the program shall be the subject of further discussion and negotiation between the parties.”

 The Maine Department of Conservation has a reclamation plan dated Aug. 15, 1972, drawn up by Fred Beck of Callahan Mining Co. and endorsed by GPRS From all indications, compliance with the plan is voluntary.

 The three-page outline calls for reflooding of the Goose Pond area to recreate the pond, and the removal of the dam at Goose Falls, separating Goose Pond from Goose Cove.

 The plan calls for grading of the dump areas, and the seeding and planting of the rock and tailing material.

 It calls for the sale of equipment and buildings, with the destruction and removal of mill buildings.

 It also lists periodic tests of heavy metal content and other things such as salinity and acidity of the water to be conducted on a regular basis.

The mine pit has been reflooded, and is currently under a five-year lease by the Maine Sea Farms for the raising of rainbow trout and Pacific Coho salmon.

 Part of the dam was removed last year by order of Bob Mant of Maine Sea Farms, and Callahan Mining, now of Darien, Conn. reportedly paid the $10,000 bill. Tidal water again flows in Goose Pond, but three-fourths of the dam is still in place.

The 10-acre tailings pond, on the former Dyer property, has been reseeded with limited success. Cattails cover the center of the drained tailings pond, which one local resident described as having “quicksand” consistency when wet.

 Seven thousand trees and shrubs were reportedly planted on the 107-acre property next to the flooded pit. The newly formed “Callahan Mountain,” a rock waste pile, is covered with specks of black oil which was suppose to carry grass seed in and emulsion to grow on the hill with the aid of a little straw.

 Callahan Mining President Charles Snead, in a telephone interview Monday from Denver, said the actual cash outlay by his company for reclamation came to $235,000, more than half of it invested in the aquaculture project, but about $100,000 on the seeding, hay, fertilizer, trees, mulching and water systems.

 On site inspection shows the mountain is still a hard rock waste pile, and the trees, the ones that have leaves, are about tow feet high. The acre is barren and desolate, a sharp contrast to Holbrook Island Sanctuary located on the other side of Goose Pond.

(NEXT( Callahan has no legal obligation to restore lands it used in its mining operations.)

Part II
Quick Sand & Metal Silt From Mine Cause Concern

Link to original article,6119130&dq=callahan+mine+on+cape+rosier&hl=en

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-

part series on the legacy of Callahan Mine on Cape Rosier in Brooksville. Callahan Mine ceased operations in 1972, and the Goose Pond Reclamation Society, which it was instrumental in founding, is on the verge of disbanding.

By Jean Heavrin

News Hancock Bureau

HARBORSIDE — Despite a state mining lease that refers to “the rehabilitation of the said lands upon the completion of mining activities,” and a mining reclamation law passed in the middle of its operations in Harborside, the Callahan Mining Corp. apparently has no legal obligation to restore lands it used in its mining operations which ended in 1972.

The company spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars after it closed, according to company president Charles Snead, in physical and economic reclamation of the area. About $100,000 was spent in physical reclamation, and the balance of the $235,000 was spent on the establishment of an aquaculture project in the reflooded mine pit.

Snead said the mining company sold the aquaculture project, including land and buildings, to Maine Sea Farms for $25,000.

“The amount of money invested was far more than what we ultimately got for it,” Snead said of the aquaculture project.

But despite the large investment in cleaning up what was ultimately a losing operation (the net loss of the Harborside mine to the Callahan Mining Corp. came to $600,000, Snead said), the property and bordering waters have the potential for becoming an environmental nightmare.

The 10-acre drained tailings pond on the former Redman farm is contained by a steep loose-rock dam about 100-feet high. The tailings, ground rock about the size of sand, develop a quicksand consistency in wet weather.

Albert Sandecki, president of the Goose Pond Reclamation Society, is concerned about the stability of the tailings pond.

“If we have a sonic boom or an earthquake and it goes, moves, who is going to be liable for it?” he asks.

Minutes of the June 6, 1972 meeting of GPRS state that the Army Corps of Engineers is “very concerned about the structural stability of the tailings embankment. They are hoping for the best, but are not discounting the availability of the worst.”
Also, during the course of the operation of the mine, effluent containing fine silt the consistency of talcum powder was pumped into Goose Cove. The silt contains heavy metal residues, and state that the Army Corps of Engineers is “very concerned about the structural stability of the tailings embankment. They are hoping for the best, but are not discounting the availability of the worst.”

Also, during the course of the operation of the mine, effluent containing fine silt the consistency of talcum powder was pumped into Goose Cove. The silt contains heavy metal residues, and ove “will cause environmental damage which would not occur if no dredging took place.”

Callahan took the position that it would not expose itself to the potential legal liability which could occur as a result of environmental harm caused by dredging.

A report by Robert Dow, — director of Marine Research with the Sea and Shore Fisheries, included in the 1971 minutes of the GPRS, say “significant and substantial increases in heavy metal content of soft shell clams in Goose Pond Cove have occurred since the operation of the separation plant at Harborside.”

In GPRS minutes of 1973, Dow had reported that his bureau had spent $10,000 on shellfish monitoring in the area since 1967 and that the federal government had spent $47,000 in the same period.

John Hurst of the Marine Resources Department said last week that the clams in the area “when we were looking at it several years ago were accumulating high levels of heavy metals” including lead, but that in his opinion “it sure as heck doesn’t have any public health problems,” and that someone would have to eat clams at every meal for a month to get sick.

Hurst said a study financed by the Environmental Protection Agency, loking into the Callahan Mine site and three other locations (including Kerramerican Mine in Blue Hill) will probably be finished by Oct. 1.

The Goose Pond Reclamation Society will meet Wednesday, Aug. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Brooksville Town House for its annual, and possibly last, meeting.

Chairman Albert Sandecki is planning to propose that the society dissolve, not because its work is finished, but because it isn’t.

“There doesn’t seem much sense in carrying on with a project that I don’t think was ever meant to be carried on in the first place. Essentially the committee was set up by Callahan to decide that we couldn’t decide. We were set up to accomplish essentially what Callahan wanted us to accomplish, which was nothing.”

The annual meeting is open to the public.

About lindsaynewlandbowker

Bowker Associates, Science & Research In The Public Interest, is an independent non profit providing self initiated pro bono analysis on key issues with a potential for massive adverse environmental impact . Bowker Associates has been an internationally recognized and cited voice in analysis of the Samarco failure, its consequence, and the possibilties for recovery. In 2017 we partnered with Daveid M. Chambers, a world leader in responsible mining, in our third joint work on the economics of tailings failures. Bowker, L.N.; Chambers, D.M. In the Dark Shadow of the Supercycle Tailings Failure Risk & Public Liability Reach All Time Highs. Environments 2017, 4, 75. A peer reviewed journal published investigation of the cowboy economics of the supercycle and the resulting escalation on the number and magnitude of catastrophic failures. In 2016 we parnered with Dave Chambers in our 2nd joint work together looking at root causes of failures at a conference . Bowker, L.N.; Chambers, D.M. Root Causes of Tailings Management Failures: The Severity of Consequence of Failures Attributed to Overtopping 1915–2015. In Proceedings of the Protections 2016, Fort Collins, CO, USA, 14 June 2016. [Google Scholar] In 2015 Bowker Associates collaborated with geophysicist David M. Chambers to recompile global authoritative accounts of significant TSF failures in recorded history and to analyze these data in the context of global mining economics 1910-2010 ( Risk, Economics and Public Liability of TSF Failures, Bowker/Chambers July 2015) The third annual update of this globally referenced and used compilation was just released at Researchgate. ( In 2014 Bowker Associates commissioned globally respected geophysicist and hydrogeologist Dr. David Chambers to undertake two technical works: (1) development of technical go no go criteria for vetting mine applications tp:// and (2) a case study of Maine's Bald Mountain, an un mined low grade high risk VMS deposit demonstrating the efficacy and accuracy of two risk assessment tools in vetting mine proposals In Maine, Bowker Associates has deeply engaged and been a public voice in the Searsport DCP LPG Tank, The Cianbro proposal for a Private East West Toll Road, JD Irvings rolling pipeline of Bakken crude to its plant in St. John and review of Phase II plans at The Callahan Superfund site in Brooksville, Maine, and Maine's revisitation of mining in statute and regulation... Our only “client”: is always “the pubic interest”. Our model is to focus on only one or two issues at a time so that we have a substantive command of the relevant field as our foundation for ongoing engagement. Our core work is in envirommental risk management, science and technology as well as bringing any available “best practices” models to the fore. The legal and regulatory history/best models are also a major thrust of our work in building and evaluating public policy. Director/Principal Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM is a recognized expert in Environmental Risk Management., Heavy Construction Risk Management and Marine and Transit Risks and has more than 3 decades of engagement in buiding public policy. Appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo to New York State Banking Board (served 1986-1996); President New York Chapter Chartered Property and Casualty Insurers; Environmental Committee, Risk and Insurance Management Society; Director, Convenor/Co-Chair Bermuda Market Briefing "From Captive to Cats" Hamilton Bermuda. Published Articles of Significance The Risk Economics and Public Liability of Tailings Facility Failures, co-authored with David M. Chambers, July 2015 Beyond. Polarization: Superfund Reform in Perspective, Risk & Insurance Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Cost Control (Jan. 24, 1997). Lead Hazards and Abatement Technologies in Construction: A Risk Management Approach CPCU Journal 1997 Employee Leasing: Liability in Limbo Risk Management June 1 1997 Environmental Audit Privilege and the Public interest Risk & Insurance Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Cost Control, April 1997 Asbestos:Holes In Abatement Policies Need To Be Plugged, Lloyd’s Environmental Risk International, May 1993 Editor Published Letters Evironmental Risk Management Beware of Facile Policies Like Fetal Protection Business Insurance 1995(?) High Court Review May Increase Sale of Bank Annuities Business Insurances August 8, 1995 Professional Profiles Protecting the Big Apple’s Core Managing Risk For Loss Prevention & Control December 1996 Major Career Highlights First rigorous analysis showing Relationship Between declining ore grades and TSF Failures of increasing consequence ( July 2015) FIrst Documentation that Gentrification Has Same Impacts as Unassisted Displacement from Urban Renewal Sites Direted Court Ordered EIS of FHA Mortgage Scandal Created Nation's First Homeownership Program for Low Income People (SHIP) Created Earliest Geographic Information Systems Using Defense Technology Developed By IBM Designed and Conducted Parallel Census Count to Show Systematic undercount in minority neighborhoods Documented Bias in ISO Territory Rating Plans for Private Passenger Auto Insurance Using ISO's own Rating Techniques Demonstrated Inherent Bias in Mortgage Policies of Banks With Inner City Branches Demonstrated that NY Telephones Plan for Area Code Split To accommodate anticipated cell phone demand was not efficient and would exhaust in 5 years ( which it did) Undertook First Systematic Evaluation of Child Protective Services Caseload Using Multi Variate Analyic Techniques Developed Child Protective Caseload Management and Tracking System (CANTS) and directed implementation in 4 client states including Illinois, Florida and New York Created and Ran Office of Risk Management for NYC DEP the Nations largest Water & Sewer Authority . Designed, Created and Administered Nation's First Owner Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP)for High Risk Tunneling Education Masters NYU Graduate School of Public Administration BSC New School For Social Research Maine Public Schools Deering High School
This entry was posted in Callahan Mine Brooksville Maine, Callahan Mine History, Callahan Mine Superfund Site, Fred S. Beck, History of Mining In Maine, JS Cummings, Maine Mining Regulations, Maine Mining Statute, massive sulfide risk management, Metallic Mining, Mining In Tidal Estuary, Mining Regulation, Robert Seal, USGS, volcanogenic massive sulfide, Zoining and Landuse for Metallic Mining and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Rock pile, stunted growth are legacy of old mine

  1. Seems to me Ms Cambridge of the DEP gave them that exclusion, hands down. Probably due to a non survey of the usage prior vs after. I call it neglectful in its charged duties of DEP and all other agencies involved. With today’s knowledge of these agencies actions, and how they carry out their duties, Pre and Post, they need to be held accountable. Maybe that would incite them to do a better job than rules, regulations and law prescribes. Forcing industry to make the challenges, not the agencies who are paid by the peoples taxes to defend, not succumb. In that I am not as involved in depth, maybe I only see a tiny portion of the issue.

  2. The job of the DEP is to improve, or at least make sure that their regulations meet in equality or exceed the previous regulation. Not to allow things to become worse. With new advances in technologies, their duty should be to ensure these technologies will not create hidden damages under older standards, and create new standards for the amounts per minute, hour, day, week, month, annual or project life.

    How can the state, DEP or other agency point blank exclude Callahan from scrutiny or compliance to a new regulation standard, though existing conditions existed, no case study was performed to determine the existing condition of the site, prior to the deadline, nor another completed to determine final damage and condition of the site at its closing of that purpose, prior to the re leasing to show how much new damage should be excluded and how much is considered 100% restoration?

    Ms Cambridge was a pivotal hands down exemption for Callahan, though there are other trace elements of alleviating the corporation by other organizations (by my view less than reputable) of its pre-agreed duty of restoration, and non polluting responsibilities. At the same time she absolved the state from having to investigate and enforce the agreements by any other department with over-site. Including the legislature and the current governor during the clean-up era.

    Ms Cambridge I say again gave a scientifically uninformed (or blind eye with no consequences ( indemnified as an actor of the state, unless penalized by supervisors(who may be also at fault, thus no action))) hands down exclusion without study.

    In that it took legislative action to permit the mining operation should speak to the fact that science was never considered, blatantly dismissed through the influence of corporate greed, though once a failed venture for profit, was “swept into the bay so to say” like children hiding their wrong doings collectively protecting one another.

    GPRS was obviously established by Callahan Mining Corp as a public relations front. And may have manipulated several of these studies as well, mentioned in the second part of the article that I found. This whole thing was a sham, and our governmental agencies were a part of this as well, from my view.

    Like the second part states at the end, GPRS was set up to fail….

  3. It has been an Honor and privilege, to assist in your efforts to protect Maine from a potential irreversible disaster. A ruling by uninformed persons, through lack of knowledge, dependent on others to advise should this go forth as statute or regulatory. Through working in my own interests with you, I find that the rules set forth as of this date are to be insufficient protections for Maine, its ecosystem and people to the point of a non-sustainable State for human occupation. There are many aspects of reason, why Maine was wisely never mined in the past. A reason of wisdom, based on Maine’s geological realities. Maybe a forgotten wisdom rediscovered by your works. Thanks for your (and others) dedicate work, and leadership on this issue. May our legislative bodies now and into the future, err on the side of caution. Safety is NO accident.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s