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Acid mine drainage
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Thompson Creek Molybdenum Mine
 JUMP AHEAD:  General Info  Acid Mine Drainage   Fact Sheets   References   Letters   Updates
There are 2 photos in the slideshow at right. Download times vary from 2-3 seconds for high-speed connections, and 2-3 minutes for dial-up. Enjoy the whole show (which will load and play automatically) OR use the quick links at right to view and print individual slides (just use the BACK button on your web browser to return to this page when you are done with each slide).

Thompson Creek Molybdenum Mine

*Slide 1: Thompson Creek Open Pit & Pat Hughes Waste Dump
*Slide 2
: Tailings Dam at Thompson Creek Mine

General Information
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Thompson Creek Molybdenum Mine (TCM) is located between Stanley and Challis and is Idaho’s largest mine at 3,000 acres. This immense mine is a serious concern for Idahoans who care for Salmon River country -- it’s just five miles from and 2,000 feet above the Salmon River.

TCM started molybdenum production in 1983 with annual production of 12-18 million pounds. Moly is used to strengthen steel, in lubricants, and for automobile airbags.

Low moly prices have caused the mine’s work force to drop from 195 people in 1998 to 60 in 2002. Once touted as being a 50-year project, TCM may only operate another 10 years, or close sooner if prices continue to drop. The mine’s gigantic tailings dam, the mile-long, 1500-foot deep open pit, and massive waste rock dumps will need monitoring and maintenance forever. The mine finalized a revised operating plan in 1999.

Facts about Thompson Creek Mine
• 3,000 acres in size (2520 acres now patented)
• 1872 Mining Law allows "patenting" of public land for $5.00 acre
• In 1999 mine paid $5.00/acre for 1,995 acres of public land = $9,975
• Began production in 1983
• Produces molybdenum, or "moly", used to strengthen steel, in lubricants and for automobile air bags
• Expected remaining life is up to another 10 years
• Employs 60 people (down from 195 in 1998)
• Fluctuating moly prices have caused past layoffs and two extended shutdowns (the latest in 1993-94)

The Mine's Setting
• Idaho’s Salmon River Mountains
• 6,000-8,000 feet elevation
• 5 miles from and 2,000 feet above the Salmon River
• Affects five Salmon River tributaries
• Severe winters, wet springs, intense summer storms
• 30 miles from 1983 Mt. Borah Earthquake (7.3 on Richter scale)

There are five key concerns at Thompson Creek:

  1. Bruno Creek tailings facility: a 500-acre impoundment fills Bruno Creek canyon and contains over 100 million tons of processed mine waste, some containing pyrite. Eventually and depending on the mine’s life, the tailings facility will double in size to 200-million tons. The impoundment is held back by a 600-foot sand embankment (the "sand dam"). Bruno Creek flows into Squaw Creek, then the Salmon River. Events such as landslides, earthquakes, embankment erosion or water systems failures could expose pyrite to air and water, causing acid mine drainage (AMD) to form, sending acid and dissolved metals downward toward the Salmon River.

    After tedious investigative work, prying information from agencies, Idaho conservationists broke the news in 1994 that AMD had been forming on the embankment since 1987. After denying AMD’s existence on the gold-colored, 700-foot high embankment, agencies and the mine finally took action in the late 1990’s to remove and/or bury acid-forming sands on the dam’s face. However, pyrite-laden waste rock is still being placed within the impoundment. For more on acid mine drainage, see below...

    The mine and IDWR engineers are on record claiming the tailings facility is safe. Other experts including EPA personnel have expressed doubt about the dam’s stability. One threat: earthquakes --TMC is only 30 miles airline from the 1983 Mt. Borah earthquake center which measured a whopping 7.3 on the Richter scale.
  2. Thompson Creek open pit: the mile-long pit eventually will be 1500-feet deep and is expected to fill slowly with 600-feet of water of unknown quality at mine’s end. There is dispute whether the pit water will be toxic, a special concern for waterfowl in the Salmon River canyon area. The mine’s 1980 EIS said the pit water would "be like a mountain lake". A study is underway which may help determine water quality.
  3. Buckskin and Pat Hughes Creek waste dumps: moly mining produces vast amounts of waste rock and these dumps now obliterate two formerly beautiful canyons. Eventually Buckskin and Pat Hughes Creek valleys will contain 600-million tons of overburden, including some ore containing pyrite and other metals. Both creeks drain into Thompson Creek, a significant Salmon River tributary. Like all facets at TCM, these waste rock dumps will need monitoring for perpetuity, and perhaps water quality treatment if/when AMD develops.
  4. Transportation of hazardous materials. Truck accidents along the crooked Salmon River highway and into the river itself have been common. So far, the substances spilled (including bags of moly) have reportedly not killed fish or contaminated the water. Trucks hauling moly and/or other products sometimes go through the Wood River Valley via Galena Summit, threatening another of Idaho’s premier rivers, the Big Wood.
  5. Inadequate bonding. After years of delay, in part because of conservationists objections, TCM recently received the patents for 1,995 mill site claims, paying just $5.00 an acre ($9,975) -- an outrageously low amount for public land belonging to all Americans. Since TCM now owns all but 500 acres of the land on which it mines, the public is largely shut out of being kept informed of mine operations, its problems and plans. With patenting, the Idaho Department of Lands has taken over from the Salmon-Challis National Forest as the lead regulating agency. EPA with assistance from IDEQ continues to oversee the NPDES permit for the mine’s water discharge points.

    The mine’s bond stands at $19 million, an inadequate and absurdly low amount considering the mine’s size and what will be required for reclamation. Bonding does not include the cost of water quality treatment plant(s) construction or high costs of water treatment should it be required.

    Another non-bonded liability: the cost of producing rock and soil needed for capping the tailings facility and waste rock dumps. Capping material is to be generated from mine operations between now and closure. The cost: estimated at $108 million. If Thompson Creek shuts down and fails to stock pile the material, then the state must. Obviously, the $19 million dollar bond does not cover this. IDL is currently negotiating with TCM to determine how the capping material will be produced.


The "Acid EIS"…
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In 1999 Thompson Creek finalized a new operating plan through a long, drawn out process which conservationists dubbed the "Acid EIS" (Environmental Impact Statement). The mine needed a new plan to prevent acid pollution of the Salmon River. The mine’s original environmental review did not address acid mine drainage as a potential threat. As a result, their plan did not contain measures to contain or treat acid mine drainage.

The acid problem was first identified in 1987 (see Fact Sheet #1). But only in 1997, a decade later, did the Salmon-Challis National Forest release a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). That document analyzed options for containing acid mine drainage, and picked a preferred alternative. Conservation groups worked for years trying to convince the Forest to choose a plan that put keeping the Salmon River clean, first. Such a plan would stop the mine from burying acid-generating material in the Bruno Creek tailings facility. Boulder-White Clouds Council and other groups advocated storing pyrite in a separate, lined facility, or hauled off-site for disposal. Pyrite when mixed with air and water produces sulfuric acid (see Fact Sheet #3 below).

Unfortunately, the adopted plan continues to allow pyrite to be dumped into the Bruno Creek tailings impoundment. While it’s true that as long as the pyrite is under water or otherwise not exposed to air, it will not "go acid" – but many things can go wrong. Once acid mine drainage starts, it’s extremely difficult and expensive to stop.


Thompson Creek Mine Fact Sheets
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July 1998
Fact Sheet #1. Thompson Creek Mine Watch
Recently the Forest Service released a draft revised operating plan for Thompson Creek Mine (TCM) to address acid mine drainage (AMD). Agency review of the mine’s acid indicators began over ten years ago. In July 1989 the Forest Service recommended that the mine needed a Modified Plan of Operation to address AMD problems. Nine years later, in June 1998, a new draft AMD plan was finally released.

July 17, 1996 -- "There is no acid rock drainage at Thompson Creek Mine." (F.S. Mooney, President, Thompson Creek Mine, letter to State Senator Laird Noh.)

Now, the real story...

Aug. 1988 -- "Yellow tailings had been evident in the lower paddock area of the embankment for at least five years." (Letter from the Yankee Fork Ranger District (YFRD) to the Forest Supervisor.) The YFRD asked Cyprus-Thompson Creek Mine if they were aware of the acid potential/indicators. Cyprus replied "Yes, we are processing a sulfide ore." Cyprus told the YFRD that two budgets had been prepared in the past three years for "shutdown" mode and a water treatment plant was included in each at a cost of $1 million dollars.

Sept. 21, 1988 -- "[I]t appears that the mine may be developing some problems with acid mine drainage and acid soils. This potential problem is showing up in the bottom of the pit in the form of an acid pond of about an acre and on the face of the sand tailings dam. The acid water in the pit is pumped to the tailings pond. There are substantial areas of acid sands appearing on the dam face and acid water is seeping into the seepage return pond ...these indications of acid conditions were not evident a year ago." (E.R. Browning, Director, Minerals Area Mgt, Region IV, Letter to Challis National Forest Supervisor, Sept. 21, 1988.)

July 1989 -- After documenting acid mine drainage indicators in mine pit waters, tailings impoundment embankment and toe, a Forest Service Region IV report recommended that the Challis National Forest ask Cyprus for a Modified Plan of Operation to address AMD.

1989 -- Captions on Forest Service File Photos: In the pit, "brownish pyrite crystals ... are evident throughout the pit area. Pyrite is an acid producer. Snow and rain water and future pit water coming in contact with the sulfides in the pit walls will likely be acidic", (Captions - Photos 5 and 6). In the tailings dam "New material is continually being placed over the lower (acidic) material causing the potential acid producing material to be buried throughout the entire embankment (Photo 9). "Material that has been in place about 18 months is very yellow and has a pH of 3.3 (Photo 12). [A pH of 3.0 will kill all aquatic life.] "The spring water above the upper paddock that runs through tailings had a pH of 3.5 (Photo 15). Forest Service File Photos, 1989.

October 1989 -- "Considering both the sand and rock ... and water sample results as well as the field indicators we saw last May, it[s] important that Cyprus obtain a full characterization of the existing and future potential acid mine drainage situation... On the assumption that this mine is developing an acid mine drainage condition, there are still alternatives for mitigation and control. But time is not on our side and if a full blown AMD problem develops at this mine, there will be few alternatives for control, if we can control it all." (Forest Service Region IV letter to Challis NF Supervisor, Oct. 27, 1989, West-Wide Reclamation Specialist).

April 1990 --
"We believe there is a serious emerging mine drainage situation developing at Thompson Creek Mine. The mine location directly above the Salmon River adds to our concern. Therefore, I recommend that you immediately request a Modified Plan of Operations ... from Cyprus Minerals Company... . " The Modified Plan ... should detail the means of minimizing this unforeseen condition of acid and metal mine drainage. (Region IV Minerals Area Mgt. Director, E. R. Browning, letter to Challis NF Supervisor, April 19, 1990.)

Feb. 1994 -- "We have determined to proceed with a Supplement to the 1980 EIS. The occurrence of acid rock drainage, and the potential for the waste rock dumps to produce acid mine drainage was determined to be beyond the effects disclosed in the 1980 EIS." (Feb. 19, 1995, Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement scoping letter from the Salmon-Challis National Forest and Bureau of Land Management.)

May 1994 -- "Acid water pond below tailings dam" (Photo 4 caption)."Looking into pit from dump access road, Note acid water is being kept pumped out". (Photo 2, Idaho Dept. of Water Resources (IDWR) Inspection Visit report, 5/25/94.)

July 1994 -- "Full blown acid rock drainage [ARD] exists at this mine and it is misleading to discuss ARD in terms of potential; it exists." (U.S. Forest Service West-Wide Reclamation Specialist, Region IV, Ogden, in a letter to the Challis National Forest on the Thompson Creek Environmental Assessment, July 5, 1994.)

Sept. 1995 -- "Yellowish colored tailings are acid generating." (IDWR Photo, 9/20/95)

Feb. 19, 1998 -- "The SEIS came about as a consequence of the observation by Thompson Creek Mining Co. that acid generation was occurring locally in their tailings facility and one of their waste rock dumps." ("Initial Review Comments on Documents Submitted in Support of SEIS for Thompson Creek Mine, James I. Drever, PhD, Feb. 19, 1998.)
For more information - Boulder-White Clouds Council, Box 6313, Ketchum, ID 83340

July 1998
Fact Sheet #2. Thompson Creek Mine Watch

In June, the Forest Service released a draft plan to address acid mine drainage at the Thompson Creek molybdenum mine. One site where acid must be prevented and controlled is the Pat Hughes waste dump just four miles from the Salmon River.

Pat Hughes Creek canyon is the mine’s current dump for waste rock (overburden that is not processed through the mill to obtain ore). Pat Hughes drainage flows into Thompson Creek, a tributary to the Salmon River. Eventually Pat Hughes will hold over 269 million tons of waste rock.

The 1998 Forest Service draft plan states that approximately 106 million tons of waste rock remains to be moved to the Pat Hughes and the mine’s other dump in Buckskin Creek. Approximately 33.4 million tons of this waste rock is classified as potentially acid generating. The plan relies on limiting the amount of air and water available to the potentially acid rock for perpetuity in order to prevent acid mine drainage from occurring. The total amount of waste rock to be stored in Pat Hughes and Buckskin dumps is 600 million tons.

Pat Hughes steams and melts snow -- Forest Service ignores.

Active steam vents of 70 degrees and hot spots which melted snow were observed at the Pat Hughes dump in January 1996, an indication of a chemical reaction taking place. This event has never been documented or reported by the Forest Service. Nor by the mine. However, others were noticeably concerned.

"Pat Hughes dump is smoking or steaming. Showing high oxidation and smell sulfur." (Idaho Department of Lands note, after attending Interagency site visit at Thompson Creek on Jan. 18, 1996.)

"It appears that Thompson Creek Mine will have a major Acid Rock Drainage (ARD) problem with the Pat Hughes waste dump...This assumption is based on the observation of active steam vents (70 deg. F) and hot spots (melting snow) on parts of the Pat Hughes dump. Steam vents and hot spots, on waste dumps, are indicative of sulfide oxidation in waste material and if left untreated will result in ARD. The Pat Hughes dump is composed mostly of intrusive, sulfide-bearing waste rock (rock type with high potential for ARD). (Idaho Dept. of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) Memo on 1/18/96 Interagency Task Force Meeting at Thompson Creek Mine , Jan. 29, 1996)

"Temperature probes buried (10’ bgs) in the Pat Hughes Waste Rock Dump show elevated temperatures, indicating that the dump is starting to go acid. (Ibid.)

"[The] site tour consisted of reviewing the Pat Hughes and Buckskin Waste Rock Dumps ... it was very obvious that the sulfides contained in the Pat Hughes and, to a lesser extent, the Buckskin dump are starting to oxidize and give off heat in the form of steam vents and or hot spots on the sides or tops of dumps." (Ibid.)

The Idaho Department of Lands Shows Concerns, Seeks Answers

Concern in 1996 over the Pat Hughes dump, led the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) to ask Eugene Farmer, retired Forest Service minerals specialist and expert in acid mine drainage to address the issue:

IDL Question: "What do you think is happening with Pat Hughes Dump when snow is melting in patches on the surface of the dump and steam is rising from these patches?

Farmer’s Reply: "A chemical reaction is taking place between pyrite ore, FeO2 and H20. This reaction is a form of oxidation that generates sulfuric acid, H2SO4. Heat in the magnitude of 200 degrees Fahrenheit is generated from the reaction that melts snow and that adds more water to the pyrite oxidation process. Mines in Europe that are 1700 years old are still generating acid. Depending upon the availability of water and percentage of sulfur, it would take three to five thousand years to completely oxidize."

"The mine dumps at Cyprus Thompson Creek contain 30 to 40 percent void spaces. This porosity allows for tremendous storage capacity and it could take years before we would be able to evidence acid rock drainage from beneath the dumps."

"As the surface of the ground warms, convection currents flow up the canyons. The porosity of the dump allows air to float through the dump fanning the oxidation process. It will be almost impossible to control this process unless the dumps are designed to eliminate infiltration of water and air by covering with impervious material."

IDL’s Summary: "Mr. Farmer stated that the company should be thinking in terms of water treatment facility or facilities. The cost of water treatment facilities are dependent upon concentration of materials to be treated and volume of water to be treated. His experience has been that the capital investment for a single treatment plan could cost between 3-4 million dollars and 1 million dollars to operate annually." ("Cyprus Thompson Creek Mine Status Report--Comments of Expert ARD Resource People", Idaho Dept. of Lands, Boise, ID, Undated (1996 or 1997). For information: Boulder-White Clouds Council, Box 6313, Ketchum, ID 83340

July 1998
Fact Sheet #3. Thompson Creek Mine Watch

In June 1998 The Forest Service released a draft plan to address acid mine drainage at the Thompson Creek Mine.

Acid mine drainage (AMD) occurs when mining activity exposes natural sulfides in rock, usually iron pyrite, to air and water, and forms sulfuric acid. This acid drainage can leach out metals from mine waste dumps, tailing deposits, and from open pit or tunnel surfaces. Metals dissolved from host rock may include aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, selenium, silver, zinc, and others, intensifying harmful impacts as the acidic water enters surface and ground water.

Acid rock drainage (ARD) is another term used to describe acid generation. ARD occurs when there is natural exposure of sulfide rocks combining with water and oxygen. ARD can be observed in non-mined areas as a yellow-orange coloring or slime on rocks, vegetation or sediments. Whether caused by mining or naturally, this visible form of acid generation, is called yellowboy. Yellowboy is composed primarily of iron (or ferric) hydroxides and sulfates.

pH - The pH (hydrogen ion concentration) scale measures relative acidity or alkalinity and runs from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral. Liquids with a pH value below 7.0 are acidic; above 7.0 is alkaline. As water acidity increases, so does its leaching ability. Nature may adjust for small changes in acidity, and buffers in the soil may neutralize runoff. But AMD may exceed natural buffers and carry dissolved heavy metals into surface and ground water, lowering pH to levels, which cannot support life.

Acid mine drainage harms fish. Few fish can survive in water more acidic than pH 4.0. A pH of 3.0 will kill all aquatic life. Optimum pH levels for fish range between 6.5 and 8.7 or nearly neutral to slightly alkaline (US EPA 1976). Toxic affects of low pH on fish include death, reduced growth rate, reproductive failure, and skeletal deformities. Low pH also causes elimination of sensitive species and proliferation of tolerant species; reductions in density, biomass and diversity in aquatic systems; and reproductive, emergence and rearing failure (R.L. Nelson et al, 1991).

Large-scale mining does what once took centuries for nature to erode and expose sulfide-bearing rock. Today’s enormous mines like Thompson Creek have compressed such exposure into a few years. Natural weathering could never duplicate the tremendous scale of the Thompson Creek open pit (currently one-mile long and over 600 feet deep), or its 450-acre tailings impoundment which will hold 200 million tons of potential acid-generating material. The mine’s two waste dumps will contain 600-million tons (3.5 million truck loads) of discarded rock.

Other Acid Mine Drainage Indicators
While acidity or low pH is a measurement of AMD, it is not the sole indicator. Clues to the onset of AMD may include elevated levels of iron, manganese, sulfate and conductivity (an approximate measure of the amount of dissolved solids in water). Increased levels over baseline may be precursors of acid mine drainage development.

AMD Prevention/Control
AMD may be prevented by keeping sulfide minerals from exposure to air and/or water. Alkaline rock may buffer or neutralize potential acid-generating rock. In large-scale mining, exposure of sulfide ore to air and water is often impossible to avoid and water quality treatment facilities are essential to prevent AMD from leaving the project site and entering surface or ground water.

Even when sulfide rock is buried or covered to prevent exposure to air and water, natural occurrences like erosion, slumping, storm events and earthquakes can trigger AMD. If the pH falls below about 4.0, organisms naturally occurring in the rock can greatly accelerate the sulfide decomposition process, and AMD production.

The Perpetual Pollution Machine
Pockets of AMD may brew within waste rock dumps or tailings piles, spreading like a cancer, and contaminating an ever-increasing area. This is why acid mine drainage is described as a "perpetual pollution machine" which requires monitoring and caretaking for eternity.

Back to the Top

"A Review of Procedures for Surface Mining & Reclamation in Areas with Acid-Producing Materials", J.G. Skousen et al, West Virginia University, April 1987. p. 14.

"Acid Mine Drainage: The Perpetual Pollution Machine", BC Mining Watch Fact Sheet #1, 1994, Environmental Mining Council of BC, Canada.
"Acid Mine Drainage: Mining’s Greatest Environmental Challenge", brochure, East Kootenay Environmental Society, Kimberly, B.C., Canada.

"Burden of Gilt", Mineral Policy Center, Washington, D.C. June 1993, p. 13-17.
Influences of Forest and Rangeland Mgt on Salmonid Fishes and Their Habitats, R. L. Nelson et al, American Fisheries Society 1991.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1976, Quality Criteria for water. US EPA. Wash. D.C.
For more information: Boulder-White Clouds Council, Box 6313, Ketchum, ID 83340

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April 3, 2000
Salmon Recorder-Herald
Salmon, Idaho



On March 12, 2000, the Idaho Falls Post Register ran a mining story by Candace Burns which failed to address the serious, documented environmental problems at Beartrack near Salmon, and the Thompson Creek molybdenum mine near Clayton. In response to Burn’s article, Thompson Creek manager Kent Watson wrote to the Recorder-Herald (March 23). We would like to respond to his comments on Thompson Creek.

Anyone that lives near or cares about the Salmon River should be deeply concerned over Thompson Creek Mine’s enormous 450-acre tailings dam. One of the world’ largest tailings facilities, the dam embankment is over 700 feet high and the dam impoundment contains over 100 million tons of mine tailings. If Thompson Creek, a Colorado company, mines out the ore body, the impoundment’s volume will double in size over the next dozen years. This structure sprawls across Bruno Creek, a tributary to Squaw Creek, just five miles and 2,000 feet above the Salmon River.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Seattle has raised serious issues over the tailings facility. In 1998 EPA gave the mine’s new operating plan a failing grade, citing environmental objections. Now, because of Burn’s article, Manager Watson attacks EPA for its "non-collaborative" position with other regulating agencies.

In August 1999, EPA reviewed geotechnical reports, which resulted in specific concerns over stability, seismic hazard, and acid-generation from the dam. In response, the Forest Service and Idaho Department of Water Quality (IDWR) brushed aside EPA. IDWR response includes the statement that there’s no worry because every five years IDWR performs a "hazard assessment" on the dam (IDWR letter on Oct. 13, 1999 to Tom Buchta, USFS, Ogden).

The USFS and IDWR also tout that the Thompson Creek tailings dam withstood the Mt Borah Earthquake back in 1983. They fail to mention that the mine was new and the tailings dam was much smaller, only 165 feet high, not 700 feet like now.

We commend EPA’s courage to ask hard questions about the Thompson Creek sand dam. We have lost count of the times that agencies other than EPA have told us that their role is to let mining proceed, and that regulators must go along and get along because these mines are economically important [in the short term] to rural towns and to Idaho’s pro-mining politicians.

Besides the mine’s sand dam, there are other concerns. Back in 1980, "experts" said this project would never have acid mine drainage threatening the Salmon River and its tributaries. They were wrong. The threat of acid mine pollution was why the mine was forced into devising a new operating plan, a process that took five years and still isn’t final. (We have a fact sheet available documenting the mine’s acid history.)

In 1996 at the Pat Hughes waste rock dump, there were active steam vents of 70 degrees and hot spots melting snow which indicated chemical reactions within the dump. Despite numerous requests and file inspection visits,
we have never found mention in Forest files of this serious situation at the Pat Hughes waste dump. We also have available Pat Hughes smoking dump fact sheet.

Now water quality problems are showing up at Pat Hughes. The Forest Service reported 1999 water quality tests in Pat Hughes Creek, a Salmon River tributary, which detected exceedances of zinc, cadmium, and suspended solids plus low pH and elevated conductivity. The Forest Service also offered excuses: a pipeline ruptured by an avalanche and breaches in the pit dewatering line.

Thompson Creek is a mine, which will require monitoring and maintenance into perpetuity. Forever. We and many others are greatly concerned about this gigantic mine, Idaho’s largest, and what legacy it will bequeath to the Salmon River.

We welcome calls and information about Thompson Creek and other mines. Thank you.

Lynne Stone
Boulder-White Clouds Council

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Update April 2003: According to an April 10, 2003 article in the Challis Messenger by reporter Todd Adams, Thompson Creek Mine has responded to higher moly prices and has begun to remove more overburden from its open pit. In April moly was $5.00 a pound versus $3.00 on November 2002. An additional 50-60 workers have returned to the project, joining a current 100 at the site. Adams quotes mine manager Kent Watson as saying that this latest phase will allow Thompson Creek to operate another two to five years. Watson said "mine life….depend(s) on the economics of mining and market demand…."


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