East Boulder Mine - A River Runs Through It

CIM Vancouver 2002
Bruce Gilbert, Matt Wolfe, Graham Greenaway,
Abstract Stillwater Mining Company commenced construction of the East Boulder underground PGM mine in 1998. The new mine is situated adjacent to the East Boulder River approximately 35 miles south of Big Timber, Montana. Project planning and development involved detailed collaboration between the regulatory agencies, mine personnel and concerned citizens. A unique "Good Neighbor Agreement" was established with a local environmental group that has become actively involved in the review of on-going site development and the implementation of environmental controls. Current environmental practices involve integrated management of tailings, waste rock and water in order to minimize surface disturbances and to prevent adverse impacts to the East Boulder River. Long term waste management plans contemplate co-mingling of the waste rock with paste tailings. Water management involves the removal of nitrogen from all excess mine water through a biological denitrification process followed by land application and disposal (LAD). Biological denitrification involves passing mine water through several fixed media reactors which utilise denitrifying bacteria under anoxic conditions to reduce soluable nitrogen compounds to nitrogen gas. Land application is by spray evaporation, snow making and centre pivot irrigation systems. The comprehensive waste and water management plans have also been integrated into the staged reclamation bonding requirements.
Keywords: Community relations, liner systems, land application disposal, paste tailings, Mine Closure, integrated waste management
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