Silver City, NM, June 25, 2019 - For Immediate Release. The first phase of the environmental cleanup at the Royal John Mine and Mill located is expected to be completed in late July. The mine site is east of San Lorenzo, New Mexico in Grant County on the western slopes of the Black Range of the Mimbres Mountains on the Silver City Ranger District of the Gila National Forest.
Past lead and zinc mining activities left an estimated 90,000 cubic yards of tailings and waste rock material along the upper reaches of Cold Springs Creek. The USDA Forest Service is performing the first phase of a two-part environmental cleanup to remove waste with elevated levels of lead. Contaminated tailings and waste rock material are being removed to an on-site consolidation cell where it will be permanently capped. This will provide a long-term reduction in direct exposure to the contaminated material and will decrease the potential for the contaminants to move from the tailings and waste rock material to the surrounding environment.
The original schedule anticipated that the Royal John Road would be closed at the Forest Boundary through June 28. Phase 1 of the project has now been revised to include removal of additional waste by the mill adit that had been previously been planned for Phase 2. This will delay the reopening of the Royal John Road until July 12, 2019. No further closures of Royal John Road will be necessary for this project.
Construction of the permanent repository earthen cap has also been added to the contract. The repository area will be protected with a steel rail fence and seeded with native grasses to aid in restoration. Construction work at the repository is expected to be finished in late July.
Phase 2 of the environmental cleanup is expected to be awarded later this summer and will close off the adits and shafts at the Royal John Mine using a variety of methods. Adits and shafts that provide good bat habitat will be closed off with bat friendly steel grates. Other shafts and adits that do not provide good bat habitat will be permanently closed off using polyurethane foam and rock. Phase 2 will complete the cleanup and all construction is planned to be finished by the end of spring of 2020.