515-acre Grouse Creek Mine was touted to be a modern, "state of the art"
mine when constructed in the Salmon River Mountains, 14 miles from Stanley
in 1993. Instead, it’s become an environmental nightmare.
has leaked from the mine’s tailings facility into nearby Jordan Creek at
toxicity levels lethal to fish. Jordan Creek is just seven miles from
Idaho’s famous Salmon River. The mine is now closed and is haggling with
government agencies over how to drain 500-million gallons of tainted water
from the tailings dam. The probable solution: dump it into the Yankee Fork
of the Salmon River.
Grouse Creek was a
financial "black hole" as Hecla Mining Company grossly overestimated
the projects gold reserves. The mine closed in 1997, far short of
its expected 8 to10 years of operation. Now the company is seeking patents
(ownership) of its claims at the Grouse Creek site, despite not making
a profit a requirement for patenting.
Update Late 2002: Draining Grouse Creek’s Tailings Lake = "The
solution to pollution is dilution". Hecla Mining Company insists on mixing
tainted tailings water with the Yankee Fork Salmon River. Although cyanide
levels are no longer toxic to fish or humans, ammonia and selenium are
still present in the tailings impoundment.