Global Expert to Reassess Environmental Risks of Mining At Bald Mountain/ Address Limits of Modern Technology


Carr Pond “Mining Affected Area” by Craig Terrell

Contact: Lindsay Newland Bowker, Environmental Risk Manager               November 12, 2013

207-367 5145

Globally respected Geo-Physicist Dr. David Chambers has been retained  to re assess 20 years of scientific data on the Bald Mountain deposit compiled by Bowker Associates of Stonington Maine . The project will specifically address the level of environmental risk presented by the deposit and  the limits, if any, of known technology and approaches to effectively mitigate and control those risks. This aims at the heart of the premise on which Maine rewrote its mining statute, the claim that modern technology can solve all problems.

Bald Mountain, even among  a class of deposits (Volcanogenic  Massive Sulfide “ VMS” ) considered very high risk  has an  extremely high risk profile. JD Irving , owner of the mountain and 1.25 million surrounding acres, has brought about a revisitation of Maine’s law and policy on Metallic Mining. In 1990, looking at the environmental risks on behalf of Boliden, top consultant Mac Roberston ( SRK) said the deposit could not be developed open pit top to bottom without causing significant off site degradation that would require waivers from environmental law. We have asked Dr. Chambers whether any technology has  emerged since 1990 to change that and whether there any  best practices  “Go” options for the deposit taking into consideration both risk and proven technology .

Lindsay Newland Bowker, Environmental Risk Manager , Stonington Maine, will coordinate and direct the project  through her non profit in formation, Bowker Associates, Science & Research in the Public Interest.

The study was designed and primarily funded by Bowker Associates

Over the course of his 35 year career, Dr. Chambers has addressed virtually  every  phase of mine exploration, planning, operations and closure and  has  experience at VMS deposits in similar climates to Maine. He will speak from this universally respected experience  and expertise to this 20 years of data on Bald Mountain  and its relevance today for Maine Mining policy.


Background Fatal Flaw Analysis ”Go NoGo Decisions” on Mines

“GO/NO Go “decisions are routinely made very early on in the  exploration phases of a deposit including reassessment of previously mined deposits through a process called “fatal flaw analysis” The shrinking global market of mine investors and underwriters require a consideration of environmental risk. That this is a de facto consensus policy among responsible mine developers speaks to the myth that any mine can be developed without environmental risk through modern technology.  Partners just withdrew from the large high grade Pebble Mine  in Alaska citing uncertainty  about control of  environmental damages in their statement. Rio Tinto, at the direction of its investors and underwriters, is the first major global mining company to incorporate an environmental risk based “NO/GO” threshold early on in explorations before it invests resources in advanced explorations and pre feasibility studies that can take many years and costs $millions.

This project will address how  public policy can drive to an early “GO/NO GO” Exploration Phase decision on whether the prospects for management and control of environmental risks are good enough to allow permitting  to go forward.  Some of the questions we have asked Dr. Chambers to address are:

  1. In the normal flow of a mines development how early in the process can that decision be made?
  2. In the normal flow of things will the public sector and the private sector arrive at the same decision at the same point in the process.?
  3. What are the key indicators  of a “NO/GO” based on Natural Resources Protection given best practices, best available technology  and  measured environmental risk

This project was informed by and builds on CSP2’s  important 2005 work “Framework for Responsible Mining . “  A global   “responsible-source minerals dialogue” hosted by  Tiffany & Co., EARTHWORKS, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) resulted in a call for a summary  co authored by Dr. Chambers.  The framework identifies best practices in metallic mining  and in its first chapter considers “GO/NO GO” thresholds.  .

Back Ground on Project Principals

 Dr. David Chambers is  President of the Center for Science in Public Participation (CSP2), a nonprofit corporation headquartered in Bozeman Montanna  and  formed to provide technical assistance on mining and water quality to public interest groups and tribal governments.

Before forming CSP2 Dr. Chambers had 15 years of management and technical experience in the mineral exploration industry, and for the past 20 years has served as an advisor on the environmental effects of mining projects both nationally and internationally. He is a registered professional geophysicist (California # GP 972) with a Professional Engineering Degree in Physics from the Colorado School of Mines and a Masters Degree in Geophysics from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Chambers received his Ph.D. in Environmental Planning from Berkeley. His doctoral dissertation analyzed the U.S. Forest Service’s efforts to plan for and manage minerals in the National Forests Dr. Chambers also is a frequent contributor of science & research informing further development of Canada’s MEND ( Mine Evironmental Neutral Drainage) Program.

Lindsay Newland Bowker 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 building public policy. Bowker Associates, Science & Research In The Public Interest, is an independent non profit (in formation) providing analysis on key issues with a potential for massive adverse environmental impact 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

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 Bald Mountain Aroostook Maine, Black Hawk Mining Co., Boliden, Bowker Associates, Bowker Associates Science & Research In The Public Interest, Center For Science in Citizen Participation, David Chambers, Environmental Risk Management, JD Irving, John Seal USGS, JS Cummings, Lindsay Newland Bowker, Maine Mining Regulations, Maine Mining Statute, massive sulfide risk management, Metallic Mining, Mining Regulation, Robert Seal USGS, volcanogenic massive sulfide. Bookmark the permalink.

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