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How will water be protected?

We take protecting all the water resources seriously. Because the sulfide minerals that form the copper zone can create acid if not handled correctly and if allowed to oxidize, their careful management is critical to maintaining water quality. Here’s how we’re ensuring that the water in Sheep Creek and the Smith River will remain pristine throughout the lifecycle of the project and beyond:

In order to keep water from leaving the mine and mixing with creek water, all planned openings or entry points to the mine (including air ventilation and escape routes) are located far above the water table. Sandfire’s professionals chose the tunnel entry location specifically because it is almost 200 feet above the water level.

All ground water from the mine and surface water from precipitation will be collected, monitored, tested and treated before being placed back into the ground water system through an underground infiltration system buried 6-8 ft. below the surface. There is zero discharge to surface waters.

A reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment plant will be constructed on-site for the duration of the mining operation and will remain there for as long it’s needed.