♦ GROUNDWATER CONTAMINATION AT FORMER LISBON VALLEY URANIUM MILL
• The Utah Division of Waste Management Control (DWMRC) has identified deficiencies in the tailings cover of the reclaimed Lisbon Valley Uranium Mill as a cause of continued groundwater contamination plumes.
The Mill last operated in 1988. Reclamation and transfer o the Mill to the Department of Energy has not been completed, due to contamination of the groundwater from the Mill site. The Mill owner, Rio Algom Mining, LLC, a subsidiary of the Australian mining company, BHP, has been monitoring the plumes in compliance with a stipulation and consent agreement.
On March 31, 2022, Rio Algom sent the DWMRC Reports: “Summary of Review Findings and Confirmatory Actions Regarding the Rio Algom Mining, LLC Lisbon Valley Facility, October 29, 2021; Hydrogeological Supplemental Site Assessment Phase 4; Tailings Cover Performance Model and Calculations and; Background Groundwater Quality Report. Radioactive Material License Number UT 1900481.”
Rio Algom concluded:
• Recent data show that mill- related groundwater impacts have migrated beyond the northwest boundary of the preliminary long-term surveillance and maintenance (LTSM) boundary.
• The numerical model predicts that uranium from the former Lisbon mill will reach two domestic wells and a surface water body (West Coyote Wash) in approximately 70 years.
• The mill-related groundwater plumeis caused by (1) contaminants that are currently in the groundwater system, and (2) assumed dispersal of contamintants from the tailing impoundments to groundwater.
Rio Algom proposes to develop, license, and implement a protective groundwater corrective action program:
Step 1. Prepare a Corrective Action Assessment Work Plan (CAAWP) and submit to DWMRC for review by November 15, 2022.
Step 2. Conduct the Corrective Action Assessment
Step 3. Prepare and submit a Corrective Action Assessment Report
Step 4. Prepare and submit a proposed Corrective Action Plan (CAP)
WINTER 2021 - 2022
♦ LISBON VALLEY ISL COPPER RECOVERY OPERATION
AQUIFER EXEMPTION COMMENTS
Comments Received by the Division of Water Quality (DWQ) on the Lisbon Valley Mining Company, LLC's proposed Aquifer Exemption for the Burro Canyon Aquifer in the Lower Lisbon Valley and Attachments J and M to the LVMC Class III UIC Permit. Comments were due February 8, 2022.
• Uranium Watch Comments - February 8, 2022
• Comments Received by DWQ - Package 1
• Comments Received by DWQ - Package 2
COMMENTS DUE TO DWQ FEBRUARY 8
The Utah Division of Water Quality (DWQ) is seeking comments on the Aquifer Exemption associated with the Class III Underground Injection Control (UIC) Permit for the proposed in situ leach (ISL) copper recovery operation in the Lower Lisbon Valley, San Juan County, Utah.
Comments are due February 8. On January 19 there will be a hearing in Salt Lake City, with virtual participation via Zoom. The DWQ previously provided an opportunity to comment on the UIC Permit. The project will also require authorization from the Bureau of Land Management and Utah Division of Oil, Gas & Mining.
• DWQ Aquifer Exemption Public Notice - related information and Zoom link to hearing.
• Close of Comments: February 8, 2022
• Public Hearing: January 19, 2022
• Link to Virtual Pubic Hearing
• Public Notice - December 8, 2021
• Aquifer Exemption Request
• Financial Assurance
• Fact Sheet - Statement of Basis - Compliance Schedule
CLASS III UNDERGROUND INJECTION CONTROL (UIC) PERMIT
• Class III UIC Permit Public Notice, Application, and related information
• Public Comments on Class III UIC Permit - 2020-2021 (70 MB)
• DWQ responses to public comments on the Class III UIC Permit
• Salt Lake Tribune 2020 Article
• Division of Oil, Gas & Mining Lisbon Valley Mine Documents
♦ EPA ORDERS WHITE MESA MILL TO STOP ACCEPTING CERCLA WASTE
On December 2, 2021, Region 8 of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Off-Site Policy Unacceptability Notice, to Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc., the owners of the White Mesa Uranium Mill. The EPA found that the conditions at the White Mesa Mill render the Mill unacceptable for receipt of off-site wastes from CERCLA remedial activities, pursuant to the CERCLA Off-Site Rule (OSR). According to the EPA, the purpose of the OSR is to avoid having CERCLA wastes from response actions authorized or funded under CERCLA contribute to present or future environmental problems.
The Utah Division of Air Quality has issued a Compliance Advisory on October 27, 2021. Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. sent a Response to the October 27 Compliance Adviros
The EPA and Utah Division of Air Quality found that the Mill was in violation of EPA regulations because solid wastes were above the water level in tailings impoundment 4B, which results in higher radon emissions. Solid tailings are also exposed in Cell 4A, but that is allowed under applicable EPA regulation, 40 CFR Part 61 Subpart W. The EPA does not require measurement of radon emissions from Cell 4A, just Cell 3.
The Mill has been receiving materials from the remediation of uranium in the groundwater at the Midnight Mine, Wellpinit, Washington, a CERCLA Superfund Site.
• Utah Division of Air Quality Compliance Advisory - October 27, 2021
• Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Response to DAQ Compliance Advisory - November 16, 2021
• EPA CERCLA Off Site Policy Unacceptabiity Notice - December 2, 2021
• EPA Off Site Rule Fact Sheet
• Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control - White Mesa Mill Information
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• DIV. OF OIL, GAS & MINING MINERAL FILES - Click HERE
• Energy Fuels SEDAR Financial Reports - Click HERE
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