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Legacy Site Work Supporting Long-Term Environmental Stability

This blog is the last in our series on sustainable closure and reclamation

Newmont’s closure and reclamation strategy includes the ongoing oversight and management of 15 legacy sites – historic sites obtained as a result of acquisition and/or sites that we once operated but have since ceased mining.

We strive to manage, decommission and rehabilitate legacy sites to successfully transition them to stable land resources that support long-term value creation and provide sustainable community benefits for future generations. Legacy sites and their management are not static, but are highly dynamic and continuously evolve in response to an ever-changing landscape of environmental, political and regulatory conditions.

Larry Fiske, Newmont director of legacy sites, leads a team of more than 30 people in developing and executing remedial action plans at Newmont’s global legacy sites: “Through regular review, consultation and environmental monitoring, we proactively seek to position legacy sites for future success in changing conditions such as population density concerns and global climate change. We are also focused on developing new tools to more effectively understand and solve historic environmental concerns, including impacts to water and soils.”

An example of this work to support long-term environmental sustainability is at the Idarado Mine near Telluride, Colorado. Formed in 1939 with 80 percent Newmont ownership, the Idarado Mining Company operated underground mines in the area until 1978.

In 1992, Idarado Mining entered into a Consent Decree and Remedial Action Plan (RAP) with the State of Colorado to resolve an environmental natural resource damages suit. The majority of the remedial activities under the RAP were completed by 1997, including reshaping and direct revegetation of tailings piles; underground sediment controls and water management structures; surface water management systems promoting re-infiltration of mine waters and redirection of waters around historical mine-related surface features; institutional controls, and long-term compliance monitoring of local surface and groundwater systems.

Current remediation work at Idarado includes the installation of two new weather stations and flow monitoring instrumentation to better assess localized extreme precipitation events and their impact on draining flows, as well as the development of new surface maps utilizing video and infrared-equipped drone technologies to evaluate changing high-country conditions that may be influencing historic flow patterns.

Efforts to manage dynamic site conditions continue at Newmont’s legacy sites around the world. In 2018, the legacy team plans to advance their knowledge of the ever-changing conditions that influence rehabilitation programs. Larry says, “We are committed to enhancing our understanding of shifting meteorological, glaciological, and hydrogeological conditions at site level and plan to apply learned data to ongoing and actionable projects.”

To learn more about our commitment to provide long-term environmental stability and beneficial post-mining land uses, visit our annual sustainability report, Beyond the Mine.