Monday, August 11, 2008

Goldcorp cleaning up Delnite

Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines brought welcome news to residents of the Delnite townsite this week.
In response to concerns raised about the condition of old mine tailings, Goldcorp has moved up its schedule to rehabilitate the abandoned tailings. Work has already begun.
Goldcorp environmental engineer Laszlo Götz (wearing vest in photo) outlined the new plans to several members of the Delnite community this week while on a brief walking tour of the tailings area.
Many local residents became concerned last summer when Goldcorp carried out exploration diamond drilling on the old Delnite mine property. The mine had been closed since the 1960s and residents were concerned that with the increasing price of gold, new mining work might begin at the mine.
Since the mine closed, many residents bought homes in the old town site, as they were attracted by the peace and quiet of the wilderness setting. Residents had also expressed concern about the condition of the old tailings, which were abandoned in 1964.
Götz said the tailings, which were covered with old lumber and other debris, were unsightly and posed a safety hazard to area children who might wander into the area.
He said the other problem was the increasing usage of ATVs and dirt bikes on the tailings, which stirred up the dust.
“It has been determined that the dust was a direct result of unauthorized vehicle traffic on the tailings,” said Götz.
That was just one part of the problem according to one area resident.
“The dust was one thing, the unsightliness of it, and worrying about pets because it was a playground for ATVs and dirt bikes and whatnot, there was a hell of a racket going on,” explained Delnite resident Steve Eley.
“We hope we can re-educate the population to keep away from these areas,” said Götz.
He explained that in order for the land reclamation and vegetation effort to work properly, no one will be allowed on the tailings. Götz says a fence will be installed around the tailings area to keep trespassers away.
He added that the steep sidewalls of the tailings dam would be re-sloped to a four-to-one gradient so as to make it less likely for the tailings dam wall to erode.
The tailings area itself, which encompasses several hectares, will be covered with a biomass mixture made up of pulp sludge from the AbitibiBowater mill in Iroquois Falls.
The company says the reclamation plan will be similar to the successful land reclamation project carried out on the old Coniaurum tailings, northeast of Schumacher.
As part of the reclamation project, Laurentian University botanical studies students are planting corn and canola crops in a test plot at the Delnite to see which soil type is best to put on top of the tailings.
Area residents who took part in the walking tour this week said they were happy to get the news.
“I am pleased. I’m pleased it’s being done. I went to one of the meetings they had and it looked like it was going to be put on the backburner, but now it’s going ahead, so I’m happy this is taking place,” said Eley.
As for the exploration-drilling program, residents were told back in February that Goldcorp has not ruled out future drilling.
“The Delnite Mine and area is still an exploration target, it just does not rank highly on our current exploration target list,” the company said in a letter to residents.

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