*Water years begin on October 1 and end September 30.
Water Year 2012
2012 brought official recognition of the Water Quality permit violations, which were swiftly appealed by the company. On July 16, 2012, the Buckhorn Mine was fined $395,000 for water quality violations. The largest part of Ecology’s July 2012 penalty was issued for failing to capture and treat mine contaminants for 94 days, thereby violating the NPDES permit. According to OHA’s analysis, the capture zone has been violated since July 2008, for a total of more than 1,640 days.
The mining company appealed Ecology’s July 2012 penalty for permit violations at the Buckhorn Mine, denying responsibility for causing the Gold Bowl landslide and for failure of the mine’s capture zone. Crown challenged the amount of the penalties as too high.... Read More
Water Year 2011
2011 brought a landslide at Gold Bowl Creek below the mine, violations of the water quality permit, and issues with how reporting was conducted. Water leaching through development (waste) rock piles, especially in the spring, increased pollutants in ground and surface water. For two years in a row, spring rains flushed through the larger than predicted quantities of waste rock piles stored on the surface, sending contaminants downstream. The system for reporting runoff from the waste rock has been inadequate and ineffective. Once a month monitoring is likely to miss the spike in contaminants, leaving the degree of the pollution unrecorded. OHA called for more frequent downstream water quality testing at the March 2011 annual meeting and there seemed to be agreement on the subject; however, the additional monitoring did not materialize during the year. OHA continued to push for additional monitoring and analysis. Read more...
Water Year 2010
The annual coordination meeting to discuss Buckhorn Mine’s Water Year 2010 data took place at the Eagle Cliff Grange on the bank of the Kettle River on March 15th, 2011. Annual monitoring reports were submitted to the agencies a few weeks prior to the meeting. The purpose of the annual meeting is to review a summary of the previous year’s monitoring data, discuss the adequacy of monitoring plans and recommend any modifications that might be needed. OHA opened the meeting with a presentation of our analysis of the monitoring data, and followed up with a presentation and the independent review by Ann Maest of Stratus Consulting, which laid out our concerns regarding the company’s analysis. OHA also raised concern over contaminated mine leakage and offered suggestions to address the issue... Read more
Water Year 2009
The 2009 annual reporting showed better organization and issues were, for the most part, addressed directly. Concerns remain regarding certain missing and faulty data and analysis, particularly with regard to meteorological and precipitation data. OHA and Kinross personnel continue to communicate on an ongoing basis about improvements. OHA continues to comprehensively scrutinize the monitoring of the mine... Read more
Water Year 2008
OHA found the 2008 annual reporting incomplete and lacking basic foundational data needed to analyze the mine’s impacts and to corroborate model predictions, and made numerous suggestions to improve the annual evaluation of the mine. In 2008, OHA completed an extensive review of the mine plans and developed a comprehensive matrix of annual reporting requirements to assess the degree to which the company satisfied the reporting requirements that year and presented the results to the Department of Ecology and Kinross. Kinross committed to improving the completeness and comprehensiveness of the reports for the Water Year 2009 annual meeting, and followed through with regard to the reporting framework. The mine has extensive monitoring requirements to ensure protection of the environment, and changes have been made since 2008 to coordinate the discussion of results and analysis. Read more