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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Why is CJK Milling cleaning up historic mine waste and slag in and around California Gulch?
CJK’s interest in removing mine waste piles and slag is because of our passion to restore the environment. Our business plan is based on removing historic mine waste piles, recovering gold and silver from the waste, and restoring the sites back to natural conditions. Recovered gold and silver will make remediation economically viable. We also plan to remove historic smelter slag piles southwest of Leadville that can be used as road base aggregate. If successful, the Leadville community will be recognized as the pioneer of historic mine district remediation in the western U.S.
Are you only addressing materials/mine claims owned by CJK?
Our plan is to initially process CJK-owned material but could expand to the cleanup of mine waste material owned by other parties.
How much mine waste will be removed and processed?
Initially, CJK-owned material, totaling more than 1 million tons of low-grade vein dump material in the Breece Hill and Evans Gulch areas of the Historic California Gulch Mining District east of Leadville, will be removed and processed. Additionally, we plan to remove an estimated 1.3 million tons of slag.
How long will it take to complete the cleanup?
CJK owns enough gold-bearing material to operate the mill for about 7 to 8 years. We estimate that the slag piles will also be processed in the same time frame.
How is this work being coordinated with EPA’s California Gulch Superfund efforts?
All activities related to removing the historic low grade vein dumps on Breece Hill/Evans Gulch as well as the slag piles must conform with EPA’s Record of Decision. This document specifies what we can do and how we can do it. Additionally, the Colorado Department of Reclamation Mining and Safety (CDRMS) and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) work closely with EPA on all aspects related to the California Gulch Superfund site.
How are you preventing environmental contamination from the cyanide being used to extract metals?
CJK shares the community’s concern for the environment, and like all modern natural resource operations, will take great care to protect it. This will be accomplished in 3 basic steps:
Step 1: Cyanide (CN) Handling
Step 2: Cyanide Destruction
Step 3: Zero Discharge Facility
For more details on these steps see our Cyanide Handling Process
Could operations impact Leadville’s drinking water supply? How will you monitor that?
Both the mill and the slag operations are located on the southwest side of Leadville, which is down-gradient and quite distant from both domestic water wells, and Leadville’s water source, which is east and north of Leadville. The mill is a zero-discharge facility and will therefore not impact domestic water wells south and west of the mill. In the unlikely event of a spill, backup measures to protect surface and groundwater are in place and include downstream ponds with the capacity to capture multiple times the fluid capacity of the mill in the event of a surface spill, and down-stream wells to pump groundwater plumes. Ground and surface water quality will be extensively monitored.
Where will you get the water from the milling process and how much will you use?
Water will be purchased from Parkville Water District. No water will be pumped from wells, so the process will not threaten depletion of domestic well water users. The current plan calls for 20 gallons per minute (gpm).
How many trucks and what type of trucks will be used to bring the mine waste to the milling site? How will you ensure safety with motorists and pedestrians?
It is anticipated that there will be four tandem standard dump trucks in the fleet. The trucks will deliver 22 loads of material each day. The proposed route will not go through downtown Leadville and will circumvent neighborhoods. Traffic and pedestrian safety will be based on: avoidance of neighborhoods, high pedestrian traffic areas, daylight only operation, and slow speeds when close to populated areas. CJK will share the hauling route with the community once it is approved.
What happens to the slag after it’s removed? Will it be trucked out or processed at the mill?
The slag will be trucked out to customers to be used for road base aggregate. It will not be processed at the mill. The slag operation will be conducted during weekday daylight hours, and not expected to exceed 10 trucks per day during the annual construction season, and taper off during winter months. Ultimately, market demand will determine truck volume.
What are the days/hours of operations?
This is yet to be determined during our Conditional Use Permit Application (CUP) process. It is proposed the mill operate 24/7. However, all material deliveries and ore crushing will be during daylight hours.
Will the operations generate noise and dust?
The mill will operate in accordance with Lake County’s noise ordinance. Trucks will be equipped with best practice mufflers. Back up alarms (as required by MSHA) will be of a broad band (white noise) sound type. Click here to hear the backup alarm. The crusher is small and will be located inside a sound-proof building. Dust generated by trucks will be suppressed by using gravel roads (not dirt roads) and water-sprayed and treated with surfactants. Dust on county roads at Breece Hill will be water-sprayed and treated with surfactants.
How does this benefit the environment?
Removal of low-grade vein material on the surface will reduce surface and groundwater contamination, improving the water quality of the Arkansas River headwaters, and will allow the surface to re-establish its natural vegetation. Aesthetically, the area will benefit by having less unsightly piles, including the black slag west of Stringtown. If successful, the Leadville community will be recognized as the pioneer of historic mine district remediation in the Western United States.
How does this benefit the local economy?
The remediation activities, mill operation and slag removal will require 20–25 high paying positions. The need for supplies and services will also result in local economic benefit to the community.
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