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Timeline for Monitoring the Buckhorn Mine


2008:


April 


OHA and Crown agree to settle Federal and State appeals 

 April Crown seeks exploration permit
 October OHA discovers erosion below 002 discharge pipe
 November OHA meets with Crown and agencies for first unofficial review of monitoring
 March First Annual Meeting; OHA expresses grave concerns

2009:
April

Crown fined $40,000 for water quality violation; failure to maintain a capture zone around the mine
 AprilForest Service issues exploration EA 
 JuneForest Service approves exploration 
 July Mine water quality problems persist, Breakpoint Chlorination system fails and is abandoned 
 July Multiple Violations issued by Ecology 
 AugustOHA provides Comprehensive Matrix of Reporting Requirements to agencies and Crown 
 September Temporary reverse osmosis treatment installed 

 2010:
March 

Second annual meeting with OHA, Crown, and agencies
 Spring
Company stores up to 7.9 million gallons of water in mine-shafts, and trucks waste water at a rate of over a million gallons per month to the tailings pond near Republic, WA, with no environmental review or mitigation to compensate for the loss of water from the basin
 March Crown submits Notice of Intent for extensive exploration program 
 June Ecology water quality official retires with no replacement
 June Gold Bowl water quality triggers adaptive management 
 JuneLandslide approximately 25 x 125 feet, caused by discharge of treated mine water, fells large trees and a significant amount of soil into the headwaters of South Nicholson Creek.
 SeptemberKinross investigation reveals that the company failed to report significant discharges from the treatment facility that exceeded water quality standards between May and August 2009, and that efforts were taken to make the compliance monitoring data appear better than they actually were
 NovemberScoping begins for proposed Buckhorn Exploration Project

 2011:
January

Company installs new reverse osmosis equipment that doubles the treatment capacity to 200 gpm
 January OHA recommends use of shotcrete to seal all PAG headings (required but not yet implemented), lining of all mine sumps, and additional investigation of hydrologic pathways and faults
 JanuaryEcology hires qualified staff to replace previous hydrogeologist overseeing the mine’s water quality permits, after a gap of 7 months
 MarchMine consultant confirms gaps in the capture zone at annual meeting
 Spring
Company stores over 16 million gallons of water underground in mine shafts and mine is flooded. Places to discharge treated water are severely limited.
 May
Large slope failure, just below the mine facilities and one of the treated mine water discharge areas, sends mud cascading thousands of feet, uprooting large trees and scouring the Gold Bowl creek drainage of all vegetation
 May/JuneMine violates water quality permit: Water quality in Gold Bowl Creek exceeds standards for nitrates from blasting and sulfates from acid generating rocks; mine-related contaminants continue to increase in Bolster Creek and in Wells East of the mine.
 June
Back pressure in the Mine Water line causes flooding of the chlorination building via the floor drain, releasing an estimated maximum of 15,300 gallons into the ground and surface water
 2012:
February

OHA issues Action Alert, encouraging public to push for conseqences for permit violations
 MarchOHA participates in annual mine coordination meeting; presents concerns and recommendations
 JulyEcology enforces the Clean Water Act, issuing $395,000 in fines for some of the water quality violations
 JulyMining company appeals the enforcement
 JulyMining company withdraws Cost Recovery Agreement that would have helped cover Ecology's expenses for mine-related administration
 OctoberNPDES 5 year permit expires; administrative extension is issued

 2013:
January

Crown submits Shotcrete and Grouting Plan (almost one year after Ecology's request); Ecology deems that it does not meet mine's management requirements
 FebruaryAnother administrative extension is issued for NPDES permit
 MarchOHA participates in annual mine coordination meeting; presents concerns and recommendations
 JuneOHA announces that a citizen lawsuit in Federal District Court may be filed, charging the companies with violations of their National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and the Clean Water Act (CWA), unless all violations are stopped.
 JuneEcology settles with the company, reducing fine from $395,000 to $80,000 plus $180,000 of undetermined mitigation
 AugustOHA receives final installment of data from company and develops 3D visualization of Buckhorn Mine, as a tool to increase understanding of groundwater flow paths
 September
Draft NPDES issued, public comment period open
   
 2014:  
  March   Ecology issues new NPDES permit with more stringent protection of water quality
  MarchKinross appeals new NPDES permit
  
 2015:  
  JulyPollution Control Hearings Board (PCHB) denies Crown Resources/Kinross’s appeal of the NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permit, thereby affirming that the water surrounding the Buckhorn Mine must be left as clean as it was before the mine was developed.