Information about water models developed for the environmental review is being used incorrectly. The timeframes used in the water models have nothing to do with water treatment and everything to do with ensuring that downstream water resources are protected in the event untreated water leaks offsite. The models were not designed to determine the duration of water treatment.
More specifically, the models were designed to determine impacts to water quality at key reference points in the watersheds downstream of the tailings basin (Embarrass River watershed) and downstream of the mine site (Partridge River watershed). Scientists determined the amount of potential leakage to be relatively small (about the flow of a 5/8-inch garden hose) and the rate of travel to be slow (about 3 inches per day) to these respective points, so the extended timeframes (200 years in one case and 500 years in the other) were needed in the models to represent the maximum potential impacts at the reference points.
The modeling years have no correlation to the years that will be required for actual treatment.
For how long will the company need to monitor and treat water?
It’s not known at this time. Financial assurance laws are in place to account for that uncertainty – bankruptcy proof financial assurance provisions ensure that water will be treated using either active or passive systems to meet applicable water quality standards for as long as it takes. (See PolyMet Financial Assurance fact sheet.)
Because of legacy mining issues, long-term water care is needed at the site regardless of whether the PolyMet project goes forward. If it does go forward, the state will require the company to meet applicable water quality standards and will hold PolyMet accountable if there is a failure, even after closure.
Actual treatment durations will be based on measured, rather than modeled data.
A permitted PolyMet mine will allow for treatment to begin sooner rather than later, and in full compliance with state and federal regulations.
Long-term water treatment is not new or uncommon for many types of mining in Minnesota and elsewhere. In fact, long-term water treatment is required already at the site of the former and currently idle LTV taconite processing facility, which PolyMet hopes to rehabilitate to process copper-nickel ore. Long-term monitoring and treatment often is one of the trade-offs for mining in a responsible way the minerals that are necessary to our modern lives. Less
Jjeedo, this is a fine article,.one that I cannot tell if you are opinioning on or research you came across and didn't quote the source. You speak of scientist and models but show no articles that your information came from, so is suspect as I am certain you neither modeled this project nor are a scientist.
No matter though as the USEPA and their scientist have decided that current pollution at the Polymet, site specific, brownfield to already be polluting to a high degree at the Tailings Basin, that the Closure Costs are wholly inadequate for the worst case scenario and absolutely want these funds set aside and shown in the EIS, with the math to show the funds are adequate for the probable costs of maintaining and processing the contaminated water as the Pits over flow years after closure. Lastly, it is the MODELS that have the scientists at the USEPA so buggin because MODELS are THEORIES, that when applied in the real world, and are unproven just doesn't hold water (pun intended) to the scientists at the USEPA. Thus and is why the USEPA gave Polymet the very worst grade that they can give, a grade they are always reluctant to give, and that is the EU3 Polymet received from the scientists at the USEPA. So powerful are the USEPA that they demanded Polymet "Do Not Proceed". So, what happened with all of Polymets modeling and water treatment ideas and Tailings issues and the fact that Polymet said "they would pollute"? The USEPA shut the whole project down, demanded that Polymet do a do over. What did Polymet do during the last few years using the guidelines set forth by the USEPA in its letter to USACE in Feb, 2010? According to what I read in the new and improved (supposedly) EIS they omitted key demands from the EIS that the USEPA wanted, demanded!
! NOTHING! Polymet has decided nothing really need be done to the antiquated Tailings, models are still a joke, and closure costs non existent. Arrogance will be met with another EU3. Guaranteed. Strong SELL
PS: Polymet were deemed unworthy of permits back in 2009 because their science was flat out delusional, and no GE, reverse osmosis, water treatment facility will cause the scientist at the USEPA to do anything but laugh at the complete and utter disrespect, arrogance even, maybe contempt, that Polymet has shown the scientist at the ALL POWERFUL USEPA. All the USEPA wants is the EIS to show some logic and to show what is the cost for the anticipated clean up of a now highly contaminated site at year 20 and lasting at least 500 years. What is Polymet afraid of and why will they not provide these assurances? I know the answer, do you? It is because the numbers are prohibited and is why Polymet won't show them. In fact I would venture that the whole project would NOT be feasible if Polymet had to pay what these costs will be to maintain the site for what is a very, very long 500 years and probably more. Greed s what motivates those who own shares of Polymet because the numbers are terrific, I know the numbers and are greedy too but Polymet needs permits and the USEPA don't like the numbers nor the modeling that Polymet has presented so the USEPA just through attrition will and can outlast Polymet and Glencore and this project still has a long, long, time before one shovel of dirt is removed from this site specific project.