Lessons For Maine Mining Statute & Regulations & Maine’s Bald Mountain in Tailings Dam Failure This Week at Mt. Polley British Columbia and Major Spill at Buenavista Del Cobre on the U.S. Border in Mexico

Toxic-copper-mine-spill-in-Mexico-prompts-water-restrictions Buenavista Del Cobre Photo Common Sense Canadian

In the past week there were two major mine spills in international news which highlight the many intentional gaps in Maine’s 2011 statute and regulations  An Aug 4 tailings impoundment breach at Mt. Polley ( British Columbia) appears not to have involved a release of any toxins but a breach of that proportionate scale at Bald Mountain,  would likely have caused significant damage. Prior analysis by highly regarded experts had established it was not possible to attain water quality standards in holding ponds for the unusually toxic levels in the Bald Mountain  deposit and  its footwall.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/local-emergency-declared-in-bc-as-imperial-president-apologizes-for-toxic-leak/article19928521/

Two other significant spills making news this week were from holdings ponds involved with heap leach operations.

At Buenavista Del Cobre , 25 miles south of the U.S. border a much more toxic mine than Mt. Polley  with high levels of arsenic & acid as we have at Bald Mountain, extensive environmental damage and extensive loss of public drinking waters  have resulted..

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/mine-spill-forces-water-cutbacks-north-mexico

A 2nd smaller heap leach related spill releasing cyanide solution received less press but also occurred in Mexico

http://news.yahoo.com/mexico-mine-spills-500-000-gallons-cyanide-190426853.html

Maine’s statue prohibits heap leach processing but DEPs rejected rules would have permitted vat leaching and electro winning both of which involve containment of large volumes of toxic solutions bare ( not containing leached metals) and pregnant (containing leached metals and associated toxics which at Bald Mountain would include extraordinarily high levels of arsenic.

The intentional policy gaps on tailings dams and other “wet cover” in the DEP drafted BEP endorsed Maine mining rules if implemented would most likely have caused the people of Maine significant unfunded loss as well as risking permanent loss and damage to watershed systems of regional significance. The total cost of clean up of the Mt. Polley spill is $100 to $500 million.Security bonds in place at the time of the Mt. Polley spill were funded only to about $(CD)14 million out of an eventual required $CD38 million..  Imperial had only a $(CD)10 million per occurrence liability  policy in place which would not, in any event have provided funding for clean up required by law or permit and is seeking $CD100 million at very high costs in capital markets.  Imperial carries no environmental liability insurance. So effectively, B.C. government will be out of pocket for 85% all clean up costs with questionable hope of repayment from Imperial as required under the permit and by law.  Imperials cost of funds in capital markets will be an astronomical 6%-12% and its stock has dropped 50% in value giving investors jitters and inviting speculation about possible bankruptcy.

.As all members of the DEP policy team and Cynthia Bertocci, Executive Analyst at BEP knew well through the whole process  of rule writing the use of tailings dams or any wet cover permanent closures at Bald Mountain  was identified as a possible  fatal flaw in all earlier expert reviewed open pit plans.  The eminent and universally respected Dr. David Chambers reaffirmed the findings of that earlier study of options  in his work for Bowker Associates.  Contrary to lobbyists insistence, no advances in technology have altered that fact  at Bald Mountain. https://lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/mountain-x-would-you-issue-a-permit-to-this-mine/

Witnessing the scale of destruction at  Mt Polley and understanding its causes is especially instructive and extremely relevant to us here in Maine because  this failure occurred in a mine permitted under the most complete and up to date regulatory standards in North America. It is soberingly noteworthy that this  breach occurred during mine operations  ( not post closure). (An early breach also occurred at the Callahan resulting in a mudslide of contaminated debris still at issue in the Callahan Superfund site in Brooksville Maine)

Here is Mining.coms coverage and  my post there http://www.mining.com/canadas-mount-polley-disaster-sparks-concern-over-us-mines-74374/

“The causes of the breach are not yet known but Knight Piesold has commented publicly that they warned Imperial and B.C. authorities that the tailings dam was getting too big . Also in the rather big step up in operations there were many indicators that the tailings pond was being pushed beyond safe operating limits. There was a permit violation threatening  breach in May as levels exceeded the minimum (2.8 m) freeboard  Before that among several smaller violations was an incident of by passing required treatment .”

This event is instructive to lawmakers and advocates at the Polymet and here in Maine where the worst mining statute ever written stands in place under poorly informed and written old rules that don’t match the new lobbyist written statute.. It is instructive because compared to the Polymet or to our very high risk VMS deposit here in Maine, Bald Mountain, Mt Polley is pretty tame and its impoundment waters were alkaline (above 8ph)..Here in Maine the siting and engineering of the impoundment would not have been to the very high standards of B.C. permitting, would not have had the frequent inspections Mt. Polley has had and the waters breach would not have been as benign as the water of Mt. Polley. The Mt Polley breach should send all lawmakers, regulators and advocates together back to their statutes and regulations to insure both proper standards for design and strong enforcement for proper operations. Dr. David Chambers in a work for Bowker Associates has offered technical GO/NO GO Criteria for mine permitting with two critical “NO-GO” standards for tailings impoundments. Not one state has these standards and Maine regulators, in writing rules rejected by our legislators, specifically ignored our submission of these guidelines.(see www.csp2.org).Mt. Polley tells us that this is the time to go back to basics and to advocate for all the NO GO standards in Dr. Chambers new work not to promulgate false and misleading information about what happened at Mt. Polley and why”

Although the cause of the failure is still under investigation, Knight Piesold, design engineers for Imperial until 2011  warned the British Columbia authorities and Imperial in their “exit letter” that the dam was getting too bighttp://www.cknw.com/2014/08/09/engineering-firm-expressed-concerns-about-mount-polley-mine/ In the months leading up to the major breach this past Monday ( August 4th) Imperial had dramatically stepped up production at the mine.  There was a permit violation in May  in a different part of the dam as storage exceeded what is mandated as free board ( distance to top of the dam to water level).  The tailings dam was brought into compliance by pumping water out into other holding areas.  At the time of the major breach on August 4, permits were under review to allow increased levels of discharges. Prior to that there was a history of non compliance with permit conditions http://www.cknw.com/2014/08/05/44600/ which included a treatment by pass as operations stepped up.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/imperial-update-on-tailings-storage-facility-breach-at-mount-polley-mine-2014-08-05-91733516

The B.C.Minister of Mines denies that the breach at Mt. Polley is an environmental disaster and data reported on receiving waters and fish is not in conflict with that.   Mines Minister  Bennett acknowledges though that some serious mistakes were made by both B.C. oversight and Imperial ( offering no specifics). It was revealed today that the  B.C. Commissioner of  Information and Privacy is investigating whether B.C. regulatory officials had sufficient information of a possible  breach to have a legal duty of notice to communities in the impact zone of the dam including Likely, the most severely affected local community.The water released was alkaline ( 8.6ph) but had a selenium level of 2.8 times drinking water standards. The impacted area is small in comparison to the size of the dam.

(update 8/18)  It was reported in the Vancouver Sun on August 18th that the B. C. government”t inspected the dam 33 times after Knight Piésold raised its concerns, including a geotechnical survey in 2013 and eight inspections in 2014.”  The article goes onto relay an identical chain of events before failure of a Knight Piesold designed tailings dam in Guyana.  In both Knight Piesold voluntarily withdrew after designing a tailings impoundment and issued an exit warning letter.  Knight Pesold has not spoken directly on the public record  to concerns they may have had about overall policy and operations at the two mines.: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Stephen+Hume+Mount+Polley+inquiry+must+independent/10126049/story.html#ixzz3Ak4U0YJb

Dr. Kendra Zamzow, an expert on release conditions that endanger fish and wild life , commented to Bowker Associates via email on August 11 ““It appears that the quoted concentrations (2.8 x a standard of 10 ug/L = 28 ug/L) were from water tested in the tailings pond.  It will likely dilute out quickly in Quesnel lake.  Testing would need to be done in the lake to see if the concentrations would impact fish or drinking water — I expect they would not.

The alkaline nature of the water and organic carbon (4 mg/L) should help to make the metals toxicity less than it might be otherwise (with less alkaline, low carbon water).”

Dr. Zamzows expectations were born out in samples of waters in the flooded area and in samples of fish.

Tailings Dam & Wet Cover Issues At Bald Mountain

Tailings Dam siting & risk issues were identified as a likely fatal flaw at Bald Mountain in two open pit schemes proposed by Boliden and evaluated by globally respected expert Andy Mac G. Roberston, then at SRK and the distinguished Linda Broughton. A tiny Gossan only open pit extraction proposed by Blackhawk in 1995 used the tailings dam site only for temporary storage of highly reactive mine materials and  proposed returning all materials to the original pit with artifical flooding was also flagged as most likely fatally flawed as the water filled pit would eventually spill out into surrounding waters.

DEP and BEP systematically avoided and ignored all the earlier expert assessment of Bald Mountain and all the recommendations of global expert Dr. David Chambers in his major work for Bowker Associates developng new technical Go No Go crietra for permitting modern day metallic mines .  This major new technical work had a signifiant focus on the risk assessment of tailings dams and was actually contradicted  in the DEP’s insistent, false,  fool hardy guidance to BEP on “wet cover”.

Here is Dr. Chambers work for Bowker Associates http://www.csp2.org/files/reports/Go-NoGo%20Zones%20-%20Chambers%202Jan14.pdf which was submitted to BEP via Cynthia Bertocci before BEP voted on final adoption of the rules as submitted to the maine legislature.  Their rules, as submitted to the legislature , completely ignore best knowledge best science, best practice in  assessing an aplicants proposed use and design of tailings dams.

Here are  Dr. Chambers NO GO standards on Talings Dams

(1) Is it likely that a tailings dam can be engineered to withstand a maximum credible earthquake no farther than 10 kilometers from the dam site? Numerical modeling must be used to verify the seismic stability of the dam design. If a tailings dam location cannot located in a place that allows these design criteria to be implemented, then it would not be safe to proceed with a mine.

(2) During mining operations a tailings impoundment must be able to hold the maximum probable flood event, plus snowmelt (if any), and have adequate freeboard remaining to withstand wave action and storm surge at the same time. If a tailings dam location cannot located in a place that allows these design criteria to be implemented, then it would not be safe to proceed with a mine.

Neither of these standards appear anywhere in Maine’s legislatively rejected mining regulations. In fact without statutorily required additional public comment DEP/BEP further relaxed the seismic design standard even though aware that there are fault systems through and near the Bald Mountain deposit as well as  earthquake hazards.  DEP substituted a standard that is suitable for siting of a small residential home. Bowker Associates lengthy well documented submission on this unlawful change ( it required a 10 day public comment) was rejected as “not within a public comment period”

INHERENT & EXTRAORDINARY RISKS OF TAILINGS IMPOUNDMENTS CORE ISSUE IN PERMITTING STANDARDS

With the focus on Mt.Polley , a failure that occurred In the context of the highest  permitting standards and frequent inspections by independent well vetted  experts and highly trained government staff, Bowker Associates asked Dr. David Chambers for clarification on statements he made several years ago at a conference that he would not have done or recommended anything any different at Los Frailes, the worlds most dramatic and expensive tailings dam failure.  With his permission I share his further comment on that with you.

“From a design and construction standpoint they did everything right.  It was their geotechnical evaluation (failure to identify a potential zone of slippage) that led to the dam failure.  This was a downstream-type design, the safest.  The point I was hoping to make is that even when everything is nominally done perfectly, a dam failure (like Los Frailes) can still occur” Dr. David Chambers Via Email 8/11/14

Both expert comments underscore what the important takeaway message is from the Mt. Polley: that  the unique and unpredictable risks of tailings failures ( even under sound design principles and the worlds best statutory and regulatory framework) require  ultra conservative and clear standards including ultra conservative triggers authorizing intervention and action by regulators.  ” Due process” (ie a process that does not immediately recognize and respond to perceived risk where the result could be catastrophic loss) as we see at Mt. Polley,  doesn’t avert disaster.  That is perhaps what  B.C. Mines Minister  Bennett was refrring to in his comments to the Vancouver Sun about the “lessons of Mt. Polley”

The key message, as I testified before BEP on October 17th is that

(1)  compared to other human endeavors, mining involves a much higher level of uncertainty

 

(2) compared to other human endeavors the severity of possible loss is extreme

 

(3) compared to other human endeavors, the opportunity to control or prevent loss is more limited

 

(4) the lowest and most limited possibilities for external risk finance ( adequate insurance & bond markets)

 

Hence (from a  Risk Management Perspective):

 

  • need for the most ultra conservative design standards, 
  • need to consider maximum possible loss in siting and size standards, in operating limits/requirements, in independent inspections and
  • authority for the most conservative regulatory action when anything occurs that pushes risk in the wrong direction( ie defining appropriate triggers for regulatory intervention and action
DEP/BEP POLICY DRIVING REJECTED MINING RULES DRIVEN BY EXTRACTION INDUSTRY LOBBY ITRC

The approach DEP has urged in its poorly informed poorly framed mining regulations favors and derives directly from extraction industry funded ITRC of which our DEP Commissioner is a member. Maine DEP’s advocacy and policy positions come directly and almost verbatim in many instances from ITRC  “guidance”.and advocacy.  ITRC’s mission is to break apart all federal environmental oversight and market its legislative agenda and policies to states, primarily their environmental regulatory departments, ITRC approaches that favor the adoption and use of unproven new technologies.  (see http://www.itrcweb.org/)

The mandate of Maine’s mining statute, albeit it abysmal and inadequate as a modern mining statute, nevertheless is clear in requiring proven technology.

FACTS AND MYTHS ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF WATER COVERS TO SUPPRESS SULFIDE OXIDATION AND METAL LEACHING – FIELD AND LABORATORY  EVIDENCE

1http://www.asmr.us/Publications/Conference%20Proceedings/2004/1157-Kwong%20ON.pdf

This paper by YT John Kwong  provides some fundamentals on wet cover ( that it does not work for all reactive waste as a permanent closure technology) as  well as offering some insights that suggest land cover might be more  appropriate than wet cover for control of arsenic, a major issue and possible fatal flaw at Bald Mountain ( because of the inherent risk at Bald Mountain, no matter what the benefication and extraction scheme.)

It also provides findings that are readily translatable into performance standards for permitting providing criteria that are not present in the legislatively rejected  C200 guidance on wet cover as a permanent closure for waste rock and/or tailings. The phrase “perpetual anoxic conditions” for example seems especially useful in setting up a permitting process that can effectively evaluate the likely efficacy of a given applicant proposed “wet cover” system for permanent closure.

Of course Bald Mounatin has other problems like the siting limitations for any impoundment there. Andy MacG. Roberston  who did the siting work  reported that   of 45 sites considered at Bald Mountain only 4 were at all viable environmentally and of those 4 only 1 was economically viable but had size constraints.  It didn’t work out as adequate for a tailings impoundment  even for the smaller 500 ft open pit ven for the smaller open pit ) 

Here are the Conclusions of Dr. Kwongs excellent technical paper on “wet cover”

“On the Reactivity of Sulfides under a Water Cover The assumption that reactive sulfides once placed underwater will become completely nonreactive is a myth”

“Only in the presence of a more efficient oxygen scavenger like organic matter will sulfide oxidation be completely arrested”

“Only under completely anoxic conditions will the base metal sulfides become stable and base metal leaching be arrested”

“. Depending on the detailed composition of the mine wastes and the environmental settings of the depository, an alternative disposal may be more advantageous than placement under water.”

“For reactive mine wastes enriched in base metals, it may be appropriate to employ subaqueous disposal if the depository is characterized by a high settling flux of organic matter to assure the development of perpetual anoxic conditions.”

Final Conclusions are:

“1. Although water covers are effective in reducing the rate of sulfide oxidation, the process is not completely eliminated in the absence of a more efficient oxygen scavenger like decaying organic matter.

2. With the progress of sulfide oxidation under water, the alkalinity balance in the water cover determines if net acidification is to occur or not.

3. Even under near-neutral to slightly alkaline conditions, metal leaching can still occur in submerged sulfidic mine waste through galvanic interaction.

4. Potentially deleterious trace elements like arsenic and antimony with multiple oxidation states are susceptible to remobilization under water with changing redox conditions.”

5. The choice of long-term disposal options managing reactive mine waste must duly consider the detailed composition of the mine wastes and the environmental settings of the depository.

This is clearer and better informed guidance than that in ITRC and in integrating and synthesizing the guidance of MEND and GARD Guide it makes the bottom line of these resources clearer and more amendable to decision making as well to the creation of regulatory standards.

Lindsay Newland Bowker, CPCU, ARM, Environmental Risk Manager

Director, Bowker Associates Science & Research In The Public Interest

Stonington Maine

http://www.lindsaynewlandbowker@gmail.com

August 15, 2014

*********************

 Additional Press & Updates Mt. Polley Breach
Aug 5 Brian Olding & Associates Characterizes growth rate of the TSF as untenable and unsustainable
Olding had done a reassessment of Imperials permit application for additional discharge of 1.4 million cubic meters of mine waters ( mostly from seeps and drains)  for Imperia and for Firs Nations in 2009 which concluded. among other things that polishing ponds would be needed for sediments to prevent harm to the surrounding waters and habitats..That permit has since been approved although it not clear that the polishing ponds were a permit requirement.  ( also have to research when the discharge began)
 
FUTURE OF MT POLLEY MINE UNCERTAIN AS FIRST LAYOFFS ANNOUNCED
DUTY TO WARN & DUTY TO PROECT THE PUBLIC INTEREST AT ISSUE
 B.C. MInes Minister Approved Expansion  Of Imperials Production Even through Questions of Tailings Pond Adequacy Had Been Raised & Note Resolved

The province approved expansion of the Mount Polley mine despite concerns over the tailings pond and even before environment ministry staff had made a decision on allowing the company to release water into Hazeltine Creek.

The government is directly implicated in this breach,” charged Bob Simpson, former MLA for Cariboo North. “The Ministry of Mines approved the mine expansion … failing to account for the increased effluent into an already suspect tailings pond.”

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Province+approved+mine+expansion+despite+concerns+former+says/10102876/story.html#ixzz3AePc74ZQ

B.C. Commissioner On Information & Privacy  Investigating whether public alert/notice laws followed on risk of breach

 
“British Columbia’s Information and Privacy Commissioner will investigate whether the provincial government broke the law and failed to warn citizens of potential risks at the Mount Polley mine waste dam near Likely” ( a small town most impacted by the Mt. Polley breach)
In a 2013 report, Denham found that the government failed to adhere to section 25 before the 2010 failure of the Testalinden Dam near Oliver. The government withheld from the public reports since the FOI law was enacted in 1993 that warned the aging dam was a hazard to people and property –
IMPERIAL METALS UNDERINSURED FOR TAILINGS SPILL GOING TO CAPITALMARKETS FOR $100 MILLION IN OF ESTIMATED  $100-$500 MILLION IN CLEAN UP COSTS
 “In 2002, in a “Plan of Arrangement” document regarding restructuring the company, Imperial Metals announced it would purchase insurance in amounts “to be adequate to protect itself against certain business and mining risks”. The document went on to say that, nonetheless, the company “may become subject to liability which it cannot insure against or which it may elect not to insure against due to premium costs or other reasons. In particular, [the company] will not [emphasis added] be specifically insured for environmental liability.”http://www.250news.com/blog/view/32937
Ouch!!! Hi Cost of $100 million Debt Imperial is incurring for Cleanup of Mt. Polley Spill..6% & 12%.
INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF MT. POLLEY SPILL & REVIEW OF ALL TAILINGS DAM INSPECTION ORDERED BY B.C. GOVERNMENT
The panel of three includes Steven G. Vick, Colorado, whose 1990 book  was the basis for EPA’s 1996 technicreport on Tailings Dam Design Construction.and management.
In terms of design,the two main issues are maintenance of the phreatic surface ( “water table” in natural settings)  to prevent pressure on the embankment walls and control of filtration through separation  materials. Migration of fine materials into coarse materials can create pathways ultimately affecting phreatic surface and pressures on the embankment walls.

Knight Piesolds “exit letter”  cited the size of the impoundment as a concern. Vick’s guidance on size is to rely on natural topography for the impoundment walls and to avoid walls higher than 200′.”The aim is to achieve maximum storage capacity with the least amount of embankment fill. Natural valleys and other topographical depressions are usually investigated first. As a rule of thumb, embankment heights are kept below 200 feet” ( EPA technical Report op cit p 18)

  At Mt. Polley there are two areas of concern, the place where the major breach occurred and the place where an earlier May event brought water level to the top of the embankment.  Early accounts have attributed  the August 4th breach.to unusual rainfall.  Imperial maintains that the dam was operating within established and approved limits at the time of the breach on Aug 4. “In a telephone interview on Thursday, Imperial Metals vice-president Steve Robertson said the construction, begun in May, was part of an annual routine.

“We usually do a three- or four-metre raise on the impoundment just to increase the capacity for tailings,” Mr. Robertson said.He said the dam was “within its design parameters” when the breach occurred.”

“The tailings dam was about 35 metres high( 112 ‘)  when it was breached.”

AMEC, formerly independent consultant to the B.C. Government on Mt. Polley, and following Knight Piesold as consulting engineer to Imperial on the Impoundment. was in the process of implementing its design for an expansion  raising the height of the dam at the time of the breach.

Mt Polley is a centerline site, a hybrid of upstream (the least safe) and downstream ( the most safe but also the most costly)

Insight & Commentary on the mandate of the committee and the panel members

http://ithinkmining.com/2014/09/03/mt-polley-the-scope-of-the-review-panel/

Includes a link to a masters thesis on tailing impoundments superivised by panel member Dirk Van Zyl.t

.

INDSIDERS CLAIM IMPERIAL IGNORED AMECs RECCOMENDATION TO STRENGTHEN IMPOUNDMENT WALL WITH ROCK

http://www.nsnews.com/opinion/columnists/james-mine-disaster-points-to-lack-of-regulation-1.1320470#

 “Is it true that the mining company failed to follow AMEC’s instructions to strengthen the embankment with five million tonnes of rock, as widely reported by retired foreman Gerald MacBurney? If so, bearing in mind Imperial’s online claim that, “supplemental monitoring plans are implemented beyond permit requirements to ensure protection of the environment” what do you think? Imperial has cameras at its Red Chris minesite; did it not keep close watch on the Mount Polley pond after the province cited the company last May for holding too much water behind the earthen dam? Where was ministry oversight to ensure ongoing compliance? Although union spokesman, Paul French, couldn’t reveal personal information, when I called former employee Larry Chambers, he said he believes his repeated comments about the embankment played a part in his termination.”  Elizabeth James for North News Aug 20,2214 –
ONGOING RISK & RISK MANAGEMENT
B.C. Authorities authorize pump out of Polley Lake To prevent pressure build up on dam of debris that could cause a sudden flood into Quesnel Lake; Levels at Polley Lake have been raised by 2 meters; access to impacted area restricted
Biologist Assessing Blue Film on Quesnel Lake
Acknowledged and under investigation by health Officials:
“Thank you again for alerting us about the blue film you are observing at Quesnel Lake. I have contacted the Ministry of Environment who confirmed that they are aware of it and that they have collected samples for analysis. I would appreciate whatever assistance you can provide in getting this message to people who have suffered health effects from exposure to this substance”:
The B.C Government has announced that its tests on the blue sheen show it to be from decaying vegetable matter caused by the spill and not petroleum or any other materials released from the dam breach
Scientist Carl Walters Closely Monitoring Mine Spill Suspended Layer in Salmon Spawning Waters
Tourism and Local Economic & Cultural Imacts of Mt. Polley Spill
UPDATES ON BUENAVISTA DEL COBRE
October 9,2014  Government puts public/environmental losses from Buena Vista Del Cobre Feeder dam failure at $137 million
September 23, 2014 Concerns About Ongoing Discharges I am printing this link in Spanish as no translation is available. The gist of it, from my fractured long neglected Spanish  and the even worse Bing Translations is that concerns about continuing discharges have been raised. Bowker Associates is seeking both volunteers and funding to rerian professional translators so that work of global interest can be routinely posted in French and in Spanish
.September 22,2014  Adtional spill at facility attributed to rains.  Grupo Mexico’s Clean Up expenditures so far $150 million
Mexican Government Files Suit Against Grupo Mexico
 http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/mexico-sues-mine-acid-spill-rivers-25030278
“Arturo Rodriguez, the head of industrial inspection for the Attorney General for Environmental Protection, said lax supervision at the mine, along with some rain and construction defects, appeared to have caused the spill. Rodriguez said mine operators should have been able to detect the leak before such a large quantity got into the rivers.
The spill was from a holding pond which was part  heap leach operation and by some reports was from a leaking pipe.
Maine’s statute prohibits heap leap operations but the legislatively rejected regulations were a little confused on how integrally connected electro winning is with leaching operations.
Attorney General Executes Search Warrant  in Connection With Government Law Suit Against Grupo Mexico at Buena Vista Del Cobre
Grupo Mexico Stock Plummets/ Loss Of Permit Possible Over Electro Winning Operations Spill
Grupo Mexico Describes Spill & Spill Response
They describe it as a release of copper sulphate solutionfrom a dam feeding an electrowinning plant and say that it was fully contained within 24 hours.
Outotec designed & Installed Electro Woinning Plant Under 22million Contract to Grupo Mexico
Outotec press release on their $22 million contract at Buena Vista Del Cobre
 http://www.outotec.com/en/Media/News/2012/Outotec-to-deliver-technology-for-copper-production-to-Grupo-Mexico-/
Outotecs description of its electrowinning process & plant technology
STANDARDS GUIDELINES & MAJOR STUDIES ON TAILING IMPOUNDMENTS
(This section is in progress..many major cites above will be placed here with annotation/summary)
ICOLD 1995-2001 ” TAILINGS DAMS RISK OF DANGEROUS OCCURRENCES Lessons learnt from practical experiences http://www.unep.fr/shared/publications/pdf/2891-TailingsDams.PDF  (this work is cited extensively in Dr.David Chambers Case Study on the Pebble Tailings Imoudment designed by Knight Piesold)
InfoMine http://www.infomine.com/library/publications/docs/Davies2002b.pdf Design of Tailings Dams and Impoundments, Michael P. Davies, Peter C. Lighthall, Steve Rice and Todd E. Martin 2002
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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 2015 Bowker Associates collaborated with globally respected 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 gloal mining economics 1910-2010 ( Risk, Economics and Public Liability of TSF Failures, Bowker/Chambers July 2015) 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://lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com/2014/01/05/a-new-statutory-regulatory-framework-for-responble-sulfide-mining-should-this-mine-be-built/ 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 https://lindsaynewlandbowker.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/mountain-x-would-you-issue-a-permit-to-this-mine/ 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 Bowker Associates Science & Research In The Public Interest, Buenavista Del Cobre, David Chambers, Electrowinning Feeder Dam Failures, Environmental Risk Management, Freeport McMoran, GO NO-GO Technical Framework, Gupo Mexico, Imperial Metals, ITRC, Lindsay Newland Bowker, Maine Mining Regulations, Maine Mining Statute, Outotec, Tailings Impoundments, TSF Design & Management Standrds, TSF Risk Profile Globally and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Lessons For Maine Mining Statute & Regulations & Maine’s Bald Mountain in Tailings Dam Failure This Week at Mt. Polley British Columbia and Major Spill at Buenavista Del Cobre on the U.S. Border in Mexico

  1. Pingback: Finding & Fixing At Risk TSF’s Still Permitted & Still in Operation | lindsaynewlandbowker

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