Monday, September 29, 2008

Goldcorp worried that ATVers destroying tailings

Goldcorp is trying to finish up the job in rejuvenating the old Delnite tailings. But there is a concern there are people in the community who are just as determined to ruin that work.
Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the project but avid ATV riders may see its demise, according to PGM environmental engineer László Götz.
Much of the success of PGM’s rejuvenation effort is based on the plan of adding bio-solids to the tailings, thus creating a suitable base of nutrients where grasses, shrubs and trees can flourish. The company has also begun hydro-seeding the land in a high-priced effort to regreen the area.
The work has been applauded by many residents living in and around the old Delnite townsite, who complained for years about dust blowing off the top of the tailings. Controlling the dust is one of the reasons why PGM is working to rejuvenate the land.
The problem is that ATV riders and dirt-bikers are tearing up the reseeded areas by riding all over PGM’s private property.
PGM project assistant Bev Taylor says signs and barriers are being installed at all known access points to the various tailings areas, aimed at ATV and dirt-bike riders. “They don’t always pay attention,” she admits.
She says it’s not only to stop the riders from destroying new vegetation, but also for the protection of the trespassers so they don’t get in the way of the large machines.
“There’s heavy trucks everywhere out here,” she explains as one of the mammoth rock hauling machines roars along the back roads bringing another load of crushed rock that is used to stabilize the slopes of the tailings dams.
She adds that PGM is going to the expense to adding large boulders, weighing many thousands of kilograms, all along the perimeter at the top of the tailings. The idea is to keep trespassers from destroying the fragile re-vegetation area. PGM is hoping the boulders will discourage the ATV riders from trespassing.
The continued presence of the riders is frustrating for Götz, who has watched as his efforts get destroyed.
“Not only millions of dollars worth of repair work is at stake, but also the health of the nearby residents, who in the past endured dusting coming from the barred tailings surfaces, and who oh-so-loudly complained about it to the media last fall,” he said.
PGM is also in the process of cleaning up the old Aunor tailings located nearby and because of the trespassers at the Delnite, extra money, materials and manpower will be spent on those tailings as well, in an effort to keep ATVers away.

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