Cleaning Up a Legacy Mine SiteThe Holden Mine Cleanup Project is a multi-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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