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Mine waste spills into Tabor Creek
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Mine waste spills into Tabor Creek

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Big Ledge Mine map

This map is from the Big Ledge Mine Plan Amendment published in Jan. 2019.

ELKO — A burst pipeline spilled about 26,250 gallons of three-to-one mine waste into Tabor Creek on Sunday, Mike Creek, the director of closure and reclamation for the Big Ledge Mine site, said this week.

The Big Ledge Mine, which is no longer in operation and is in the process of being permanently closed, is about 27 miles north/northeast of Wells in the northern Snake Mountain Range. The mine is at the headwaters of Tabor Creek.

The broken pipeline was discovered during routine inspections, Creek said.

“As soon as it was discovered, it was shut off immediately,” Creek said. “We are in the process of evaluating why that pipeline burst and then we will repair it to remedy the situation.”

“This pipeline is associated with the remedial action and reclamation and closure work” at the mine, Creek said.

According to the spring 2012 Mining Quarterly, the Big Ledge Mine was a barite mine on the Marys River Ranch which was originally mined in 1978, and Spirit Minerals started the mine back up in 2007. National Oilwell Varco acquired Spirit Minerals as part of a significant investment in Nevada.

A Big Ledge Mine Amendment to the Plan of Operations that was published in January 2019 and revised in February said, “During the second quarter 2016 water pollution control permit inspection by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection Bureau of Mining Regulation and Reclamation (NDEP-BMRR), low pH seepage was observed below the toe of the western part of the West Waste Rock Facility, above and flowing into the tributary to Tabor Creek. These observations resulted in the issuance of a Finding of Alleged Violation and Order from the NDEP-BMRR to NOV. NOV has since initiated corrective actions to address the low pH seepage and move the Big Ledge Mine towards final closure.”

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