The mine has 30 days from designation on Feb. 17 to prepare an environmental protection plan or contest the state decision
Colorado mining reclamation officials said in a letter to the public that tainted water leaking from the Cross and Caribou mines above Nederland is not a threat to drinking water in the area.
According to The Colorado Sun, the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety have placed the mine in a higher category of environmental review despite the findings. The division found no evidence indicating groundwater discharges from the mine led to degradation of surface and groundwater resources.
This information first came to light after the division received public complaints and tests showed discharges near the mine of heavy metals like copper and lead, reported The Colorado Sun.
In a letter, the state concluded that all discharges are currently below drinking water standards, reported The Colorado Sun. Taken into account were the distance from the mine to any domestic wells and water sampling data provided by the city of Boulder for Coon Track Creek, Middle Boulder Creek and Barker Reservoir within the Boulder watershed.
“The water leaving our mine is and has always been safe to drink,” said a statement released by Daniel Takami, president of mine owner Grand Island Resources, reported The Colorado Sun. “We remain committed to meeting and improving upon the Cross and Caribou Mines’ legacy of ‘mining with respect for the environment’ while being exemplary stewards of Boulder County’s land and water.”
However, the mine in the mountains northwest of Nederland is under state review, which has been declared a designated mining operation, triggering a 2019 state law. It has received new water cleanup equipment to keep tainted water from overflowing discharge ponds.
The state Mined Land Reclamation Board imposed a $17,000 fine on the owners of Cross and Caribou for water quality violations at the discharge points in January. This fine was reduced down to $5,000 of the penalty as long as Grand Island Resources continues “good faith” efforts.
The state agency’s staff has supported the mine’s efforts to complete a filtration system for any water emitted from the historic mine. Onsite review of the improvements and water sampling will continuously be conducted.
The mine has 30 days from designation on Feb. 17 to prepare an environmental protection plan or contest the state decision, reported The Colorado Sun.