Tailings covered to prevent blowing dust

The blue lines in the graphic indicate system in place during mine operations; these water lines were discontinued when the mine ceased operation.

The blue lines in the graphic indicate system in place during mine operations; these water lines were discontinued when the mine ceased operation.

Pitwatch Issue Volume 6, Number 2

The visibility of the recent blowing tailings events prompted numerous questions to the Committee. Although this topic is not directly related to Superfund and mine flooding issues, the Committee wanted to provide a brief update to readers.

When Montana Resources was operating, blowing dust was not a concern because water from the concentrator and the Horseshoe Bend diversion kept the tailings wet. When milling operations were suspended and the Horseshoe Bend flow was directed back to the Pit, the tailings began drying out. By October, Montana Resources had spread about 1.5 million tons of rock, approximately eighteen inches deep, to cover about 507 acres of the Yankee Doodle Tailings Pond north of the Berkeley Pit to keep the dust down.

The blue lines in the graphic on the right indicate system in place during mine operations; these water lines were discontinued when the mine ceased operation.

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