Sulfide Waste Management Considerations at Homestake's Santa Fe Mine

Shay, Dale A. ; Cellan, Roy R.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
The Santa Fe Mine, located in west central Nevada, began leaching ore in 1988 and completed ore processing in 1995. Homestake Mining Company has completed final reclamation of the site, including remediation of bare surface soils resulting from the oxidation of sulfide minerals and migration of acidity in the mine waste repositories. The need to remediate oxidized sulfides and mitigate resultant acidity at the Santa Fe Mine emphasizes the economic, reclamation, and environmental advantages for understanding and pre-planning for management of potential sulfide wastes during mine planning phases. The lack of pre-planning by mining companies for sulfide waste management was common in the 1980's due primarily to mining of reserves characterized largely as oxide deposits and to the common opinion that low moisture regimes in arid or semi- arid climates would not allow for significant acid generation. Since the 1980's, operational experience has shown that sulfide wastes, deposited randomly in waste dumps and without adequate planning for final reclamation success, can create final reclamation problems that are very costly to remediate. While mine waste characterization, waste management plan compilation, and in-pit selective waste handling procedures add operational costs, the reclamation experiences at the Santa Fe Mine are indicative that pre-planning and management is worthwhile both in actual overall cost efficiency and in successful reclamation of the mine site. The reclamation program at the Santa Fe Mine shows Homestake's continued commitment to the successful management and reclamation of their mine sites.
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