HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS

Committee on Hardrock Mining on Federal Lands

Committee on Earth Resources

Board on Earth Sciences and Resources

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.



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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS Committee on Hardrock Mining on Federal Lands Committee on Earth Resources Board on Earth Sciences and Resources Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.

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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by the Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior, under assistance award No. 1434-HQ-97-AG-01886. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. government. International Standard Book Number 0-309-06596-8 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Box 285 Washington, DC 20055 800–624–6242 202–334–3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu Cover: Photograph of Gold Quarry Mine, Newmont Mining Company, Carlin, NV courtesy of Raymond Krauss. Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS COMMITTEE ON HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS PERRY R.HAGENSTEIN, Chair, Independent Consultant, Wayland, Massachusetts SAMUEL S.ADAMS, Vice-Chair, Independent Consultant, Lincoln, New Hampshire ANNE C.BALDRIGE, Independent Consultant, Denver, Colorado PAUL B.BARTON, JR., U.S. Geological Survey (emeritus), Reston, Virginia EDWIN H.CLARK II, Clean Sites, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia DONALD W.GENTRY, PolyMet Mining Corporation, Golden, Colorado RAYMOND KRAUSS, Independent Consultant, Santa Rosa, California ANN S.MAEST, Buka Environmental, Boulder, Colorado JAMES M.MCELFISH, JR., Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. DUNCAN T.PATTEN, Arizona State University (emeritus), Bozeman, Montana JONATHAN G.PRICE, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, Reno RICHARD E.REAVIS, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (emeritus), Carson City DONALD D.RUNNELLS, Shepherd Miller, Inc., Ft. Collins, Colorado NRC Staff CRAIG M.SCHIFFRIES, Study Director (through August, 1999) GREGORY H.SYMMES, Study Director (since August, 1999) MARK C.GIBSON, Research Associate ANGELA R.TAYLOR, Senior Project Assistant REBECCA E.SHAPACK, Project Assistant

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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS COMMITTEE ON EARTH RESOURCES SUSAN M.LANDON, Chair, Thomasson Partner Associates, Denver, Colorado PAUL B.BARTON, JR., U.S. Geological Survey (emeritus), Reston, Virginia CORALE L.BRIERLY, Independent Consultant, Highlands Ranch, Colorado GRAHAM A.DAVIS, Colorado School of Mines, Golden P.GEOFFREY FEISS, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia JAMES M.FUNK, Shell Continental Companies (retired), Houston, Texas ALLEN L.HAMMOND, World Resource Institute, Washington, D.C. PAMELA D.LUTTRELL, Mobil, Dallas, Texas DIANNE R.NIELSON, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Salt Lake City JONATHAN G.PRICE, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, Reno RICHARD J.STEGEMEIER, Unocal Corporation (emeritus), Brea, California HUGH P.TAYLOR, JR., California Institute of Technology, Pasadena NOEL TYLER, University of Texas at Austin MILTON H.WARD, Cyprus Amax Minerals Company, Englewood, Colorado NRC Staff ANTHONY R.DE SOUZA, Director JUDITH L.ESTEP, Administrative Assistant

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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS BOARD ON EARTH SCIENCES AND RESOURCES J.FREEMAN GILBERT, Chair, University of California, San Diego JOHN J.AMORUSO, Amoruso Petroleum Company, Houston, Texas PAUL BARTON, JR., U.S. Geological Survey (emeritus), Reston, Virginia KENNETH I.DAUGHERTY, Geospatial Concepts, Inc., Falls Church, Virginia BARBARA L.DUTRO, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge RICHARD S.FISKE, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. JAMES M.FUNK, Shell Continental Companies, Houston, Texas WILLIAM L.GRAF, Arizona State University, Tempe RAYMOND JEANLOZ, University of California, Berkeley SUSAN M.KIDWELL, University of Chicago, Illinois SUSAN KIEFFER, Kieffer & Woo, Inc., Palgrave, Ontario PAMELA LUTTRELL, Mobil, Dallas, Texas ALEXANDRA NAVROTSKY, University of California, Davis DIANNE R.NIELSON, Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Salt Lake City JONATHAN PRICE, Nevada Bureau of Mines & Geology, Reno EDWARD M.STOLPER, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena JOHN R.G.TOWNSHEND, University of Maryland, College Park MILTON H.WARD, Cyprus Amax Minerals Company, Engelwood, Colorado NRC Staff ANTHONY R.DE SOUZA, Director TAMARA L.DICKINSON, Senior Program Officer ELLEN S.KAPPEL, Senior Program Officer ANNE M.LINN, Senior Program Officer THOMAS M.USSELMAN, Senior Program Officer JENNIFER T.ESTEP, Administrative Associate VERNA J.BOWEN, Administrative Assistant JUDITH L.ESTEP, Administrative Assistant REBECCA E.SHAPACK, Project Assistant

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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES GEORGE M.HORNBERGER, Chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville RICHARD A.CONWAY, Union Carbide Corporation (retired), South Charleston, West Virginia THOMAS E.GRAEDEL, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut THOMAS J.GRAFF, Environmental Defense Fund, Oakland, California EUGENIA KALNAY, University of Maryland, College Park DEBRA KNOPMAN, Progressive Policy Institute, Washington, D.C. KAI N.LEE, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts RICHARD A.MESERVE, Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C. BRAD MOONEY, J. Brad Mooney Associates, Ltd., Arlington, Virginia HUGH C.MORRIS, El Dorado Gold Corporation, Vancouver, British Columbia H.RONALD PULLIAM, University of Georgia, Athens MILTON RUSSELL, University of Tennessee, Knoxville THOMAS C.SCHELLING, University of Maryland, College Park ANDREW R.SOLOW, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts VICTORIA J.TSCHINKEL, Landers and Parsons, Tallahassee, Florida E-AN ZEN, University of Maryland, College Park MARY LOU ZOBACK, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California NRC Staff ROBERT M.HAMILTON, Executive Director GREGORY H.SYMMES, Associate Executive Director JEANETTE SPOON, Administrative and Financial Officer SANDI FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate MARQUITA SMITH, Administrative Assistant/Technology Analyst

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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS This report has been reviewed by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making their published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Edie B.Allen University of California, Riverside R.Ray Beebe Consultant Tucson, Arizona John S.Chipman University of Minnesota Minneapolis David H.Getches University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder George M.Hornberger University of Virginia Charlottesville J.S.Livermore Cordilleran Exploration Company Reno, Nevada Glenn C.Miller University of Nevada, Reno Dianne R.Nielson Utah Department of Environmental Quality Salt Lake City Raymond A.Price Queen's University Kingston, Ontario Steven P.Quarles Crowell & Moring LLP Washington, D.C. Although the individuals listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC.

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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A.Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I.Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A.Wulf are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1  1   INTRODUCTION   11      Policy Context,   13      Approach to the Study,   16      Federal Lands and Hardrock Mining,   17      Hardrock Mining,   23      Potential Environmental Impacts of Hardrock Mining,   27      Changing Contexts,   31      Organization of the Report,   35  2   EXISTING REGULATORY FRAMEWORK   37      Statutory Policies for Management,   37      Environmental Regulation,   40      Relationships Among State and Federal Environmental Regulations,   52      Time Requirements for Environmental Review and Permitting,   54  3   ADEQUACY OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION   57      Elements of a Regulatory Program,   58      Regulatory Issues,   62      Regulatory Implementation Issues,   73      Scientific Issues,   78      The Need for Early Stakeholder Consultation,   81      Reclamation, Closure, and Post-Closure Management,   82      Regulatory Efficiency Issues,   86      Public Involvement Issues,   87      Summary,   88

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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS  4   CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS   89      Conclusions,   89      Recommendations,   93      Summary,   123     REFERENCES   125  APPENDIX A   The Nature of Mining   135      Description of Ore Deposits,   135      The Mining Process,   138      The Uranium Industry,   145  APPENDIX B   Potential Environmental Impacts of Hardrock Mining   149      Introduction,   149      Cumulative Effects,   150      Long-Term Monitoring,   152      Water Quality,   153      Water Quantity,   157      Aquatic Biota,   159      Landscape or Ecosystem Alterations,   161      Terrestrial Vegetation,   161      Riparian Vegetation,   163      Wetlands: Hydrological and Surface Changes,   164      Soil,   164      Terrestrial Wildlife,   165      Air Quality,   166      Noise,   167  APPENDIX C   Existing Regulatory Requirements   169  APPENDIX D   Research Needs   197      Water Quality,   198      Hydrology,   202      Ecology,   205      Cumulative Impacts,   207      Alternative Mining and Pollution Prevention Methods,   207      Mining Technologies for the Future,   209      Summary,   213

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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS  APPENDIX E   Financial Assurance   215      Activities and Events Covered,   215      Amount of Financial Assurance,   216      Types of Financial Assurance,   217      Conditions for Release,   217  APPENDIX F   Presentations to the Committee   219  APPENDIX G   Individuals Who Provided Documents to the Committee   227  APPENDIX H   Biographical Sketches of Committee Members   233     ACRONYMS   239     GLOSSARY   241

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HARDROCK MINING ON FEDERAL LANDS