(This blog post comes directly from Hecla’s website. Click here to learn more about their work on energy conservation, minimizing waste and protecting local communities.)
Reclamation is an integral part of every active site plan. Reclamation methods vary from site to site, but all have the same goals: return the land to viable post-disturbance land uses and mitigate environmental impacts.
Site disturbance is minimized during operations through various methods such as dry-stack tailings disposal, reuse of development rock as construction material, and underground paste backfill. At Greens Creek, helicopter support for exploration drilling minimizes road building and subsequent reclamation.
Biodiversity at Hecla’s sites is protected and enhanced through a variety of ways. Both Grouse Creek and Lucky Friday work to protect and enhance biodiversity by eradicating noxious weeds and planting native shrub and tree species. The sites also use seed mixes which have been researched, approved, and/or formulated for specific habitat goals. Native shrub and tree species are planted.
On October 14, 2011, Hecla achieved the milestone of 120 years in existence. As a result of this extraordinary longevity, Hecla is associated with a number of historic mining properties, in several jurisdictions, that are regulated by a mix of various local, state, and federal programs. Hecla is responsibly addressing the impacts of its historic properties and remains committed to reclamation of closed mine sites.
In North Idaho’s Silver Valley, remediation work associated with the Bunker Hill Superfund site is nearly complete. We expended more than $26 million toward clean-up efforts of various properties in the valley, and received agency certification in 2008 for work completed. And for the restoration of the Coeur d’Alene Basin, we have agreed to pay $263 million over the next three years. As a responsible citizen of the Silver Valley, Hecla has actively participated in policy development for clean-up initiatives.
Hecla is responsibly addressing the impacts of its properties and remains committed to reclamation of closed mine sites. An ongoing example is the closed Grouse Creek mine in Idaho, which is now 80% reclaimed. Approximately 435 acres have been reclaimed by grading slopes, placing topsoil and vegetating using an approved seed mix to encourage biodiversity. About 30,000 trees have also been planted. Final reclamation of the site with completion of the tailings impoundment closure is planned to be completed in 2012.