The Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of the Interior (DOI), Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the State of Colorado have announced a settlement with Sunnyside Gold Corporation and its Canadian parent Kinross Gold Corporation resolving federal issues and state liability related to the Bonita Peak Mining District Superfund site, which includes the Gold King mine and numerous other abandoned mines near Silverton, Colorado. If successful in court, this agreement provides for the continued cleanup of mining-related contamination in the Upper Animas watershed and will protect public health and the environment by improving water quality. , stabilizing mining sources and minimizing unplanned releases.
Under the agreement, Sunnyside Gold Corporation and Kinross Gold Corporation will jointly pay $45 million to the United States and the State of Colorado, and the United States will dismiss its claims against Sunnyside Gold Corporation and Kinross Gold Corporation. The United States will also contribute $45 million to the continued cleanup of the Bonita Peak Mining District Superfund site and Sunnyside Gold Corporation and Kinross Gold Corporation will dismiss their claims against the United States.
“Today’s settlement holds these companies accountable for their past mining operations at the site,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement demonstrates the ongoing efforts of the Department of Justice and cleanup agencies, working with our state partners, to ensure Superfund sites are reviewed and remediated.”
“This settlement addresses the cleanup responsibility of private mining companies and the federal government and ensures that site cleanup work will continue,” said Larry Starfield, acting deputy administrator of the Office of Enforcement and Insurance. of EPA compliance. “Together with our state and federal partners, the cleanup will protect the environment and the health of people who live, work and enjoy recreational activities in the area.”
“This settlement will allow EPA to continue its important cleanup work at the site to protect human health and the environment,” sDirector of Aid Betsy Smidinger of the EPA’s Region 8 Superfund and Emergency Management Division. “We look forward to working with our state and local partners to utilize these funds which will be used to improve the environment for people who work, live and play in the area.”
“The Gold King spill is a stark reminder of the dangers associated with the thousands of abandoned and unclaimed hard rock mines across the United States, especially in the West,” said Under Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau. “Mining companies should be held accountable for these sites that put communities and tribal lands at risk of disastrous pollution. I am proud that the Home Office was able to play a role in this important settlement.
“We are committed to protecting the place where the people of Colorado live, work and play,” said Director Tracie White of the Department of Public Health’s Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division. Colorado environment. “This settlement will allow for the continued cleanup of this Superfund site, in coordination with our federal and local partners, to ensure the protection of human health and the environment for generations to come,”
The EPA directs cleanup activities at the Bonita Peak Mining District Superfund site, and the DOI and USDA retain authority over state-managed lands. Recent interim clean-up work at the site, including efforts to stabilize mine wastes and reduce contaminant discharges to surface waters from source areas, has improved environmental conditions and will inform the development of future cleaning remedies for the entire site within an adaptive management framework. The EPA has already spent more than $75 million on cleanup work at the site and plans to continue major work at the site in the years to come.
More information about the site and these rules can be found at www.epa.gov/superfund/bonita-peak.
The consent decree, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. The decree of consent will be available for consultation here.