Rio Tinto Crews Return to Holden Mine Cleanup Site

September 21, 2015 Lucerne, WA – More than a month after Rio Tinto personnel evacuated the Holden Mine Cleanup site, crews are returning to the area to resume work on the project. On August 1 2015, wildfires near the Holden Mine Cleanup Project in north-central Washington forced the evacuation of 260 Rio Tinto employees from the site.

“Despite the scope and intensity of the wildfires, the site is in good condition,” said Dave Cline, Rio Tinto Holden Mine Cleanup Project Manager. “We still need to clear and repair parts of the access road, but we are ready to get back to work once that work is finished.” No project equipment has been lost or damaged. Before the evacuation the company moved all heavy equipment to the top of the tailings piles to keep it away from trees in the area.

 The fire and subsequent evacuation puts the Holden Mine Cleanup project six to eight weeks behind schedule; however, Rio Tinto still plans to complete construction of the water treatment plant building before the weather changes. 


Community Information Meeting April 29 2015 

The Rio Tinto Holden Mine Cleanup Project began another year of major construction this spring. On April 29 we showed community members what we’ve done and what we have planned for 2015 and beyond.

For meeting details, please click here.


Cleaning Up a Legacy Mine Site

The Holden Mine Cleanup Project is a $200+ million effort to remediate past environmental problems at the mine. The mine has been closed since the late 1950s and the cleanup is necessary to prevent future water and soil contamination. Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest mining groups, is managing and paying for the cleanup, which is expected to take about five years.

The project is located in a remote spot on Lake Chelan in north-central Washington State. Rio Tinto (and predecessor companies) has been working with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Forest Service and other federal and state agencies for several years to develop a plan for cleaning up historic mine waste and dismantling old mining facilities. Federal agencies issued their Record of Decision on the cleanup strategy in January 2012, giving the green light for remediation work to begin.

Because the project is snowbound during winter months, the cleanup work is dependent on weather conditions. The work is expected to take place from May through October each year. It is divided into two phases. The first phase will be completed in 2015 and be followed by several years of water-monitoring. All interested parties will then determine the necessity of a second phase.

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