Wildfires force Rio Tinto to Evacuate Holden Mine Cleanup Project Site

August 3, 2015 Lucerne, WA--- At the direction of the US Forest Service, on July 31 Rio Tinto evacuated 260 Holden Mine Cleanup personnel from the project site, in north-central Washington. Warmer, drier weather conditions have increased the intensity of the Wolverine Wildfire, which is burning near the project site. No equipment has been lost or damaged to date. In preparation for the evacuation, Rio Tinto moved all heavy equipment to the top of the tailings piles to keep it away from trees in the area. The Forest Service ordered the evacuation as the fire continues to grow and threatens area access and evacuation roads. Holden is home to approximately 150 Holden Village residents and 200 mine remediation employees. 

“We don’t know how long the evacuation order will be in effect,” said Dave Cline, Rio Tinto Holden Mine Cleanup Project Manager. “The main thing is that our employees are safe. The fire is moving very fast, and the situation is changing daily.  Obviously, we are watching very closely.”

Lightning ignited the Wolverine fire June 29. It is has spread quickly and now covers more than 4000 acres. 

For more information:  http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4354/ 


Community Information Meeting

The Rio Tinto Holden Mine Cleanup Project begins another year of major construction this spring. Join us on April 29 when we'll show you what we’ve done and let you about what we plan to do in 2015 and beyond.

When: Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 4 - 6:30 p.m.
Where: Campbell’s Resort, Chelan, Washington

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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