Colorado's Cement Creek (
by Steve Timmer
Aug 6, 2015, 1:00 AM

Another abandoned sulfide rock mine spill

But not to worry, all the aquatic life was already killed a long time ago

The abandoned Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado is a gift that just keeps on giving. The mine closed in 1991, but its effluvium continues, even before the spill:

The EPA downplayed the potential effects on aquatic life [of the recent spill], saying there is long-standing water-quality impairment issues associated with heavy metals in Cement Creek and upper portions of the Animas River. As a result, there is no fish populations in the Cement Creek watershed, and fish populations have historically been impaired for several miles downstream of Silverton in the Animas River, the release said.

About the spill, the linked Durango Herald articles states:

A mining and safety team investigating contamination at the Gold King Mine in San Juan County above Silverton triggered a large release of mine wastewater into the upper portions of Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River.

It should probably be the Aminus River. But imagine, if you will, that it is the Partridge River.

The wet storage of tailings, as PolyMet Mining proposes, invites a situation just like this. If slow leaks from the tailings impoundment don’t kill all the aquatic flora and fauna, a blow out at some point will.

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