The proceedings of Tailings & Mine Waste ’03 contains papers on the Gilt Edge Mine. There is an abstract on the water balance of the site proposed for the ’08 conference.

I had not previously heard of this site, but soon found a plethora of information on the web: the early history of incompetence; the failures and pollution; the bankruptcy; the law suites; the failed attempts to do something; the engineering studies; and finally designation as a Superfund site. The whole dreadful litany of another small-scale, underfunded mining company spoiling the game for honest brokers. Still I suppose the State must take some responsibility for incompetence in licensing and bonding the mine.

Just this month (June 2008) the EPA has designated its proposed remedy for the mine. To quote:

“The environmental problems at the Gilt Edge Mine stem from more than a decade of large-scale, open-pit gold mining by Brohm Mining Company. In 1999, Brohm declared bankruptcy, leaving 150 million gallons of acidic, heavy-metal-laden water in three open pits and millions of cubic yards of acid-generating waste rock requiring cleanup and long-term treatment. Since that time, EPA, in consultation with the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, has enacted a number of short-term and emergency response actions at the site.”

At least from all this there comes some advances of technology. As stated in the abstract for the ’08 conference:

“Site management decisions can then be based on a risk level that is deemed acceptable based on site-specific factors such as the sensitivity of the environment to a potential release, chemical hazards present in mine waters, and the cost of achieving lower risk levels. A stochastic evaluation of the mine site water balance was completed at the Gilt Mine Superfund Site. This evaluation is presented as a case study.”

I will certainly attend this presentation and then update the EduMine course I wrote on mine water balances.