After an online public meeting in August, GRIP submitted comments on the revised Tyrone Mine Reclamation Plan that is more than a decade out of date. Our public comments focused on the ineffectiveness of the online public meeting format to address the public’s concerns with how Freeport-McMoRan intends to reclaim the mine site once operations end in the future. Additionally, we voiced our concerns with the urgent need to respond to climate change with respect to reclamation design standards, allowing for a reduction in long-term reclamation costs without any technical justification, and acceptance of a Third Party Guarantee and collateral as financial assurance.
The Tyrone Mine reclamation plan or “Closure/Closeout Plan” (CCP), focuses on how the mine’s lands will be used after it closes, and how they will be reclaimed so they can serve those uses. The majority of the mine site will be reclaimed for wildlife habitat post-mining land use (PMLU), with buildings and facilities reclaimed for industrial PMLU. The plan also describes reclamation activities designed to protect ground and surface water quality, air quality and wildlife.
The reclamation plan for the Tyrone Mine was originally approved by MMD on April 12, 2004. Although the Tyrone mine submitted an application to update the plan in April of 2009 and plan updates were submitted in 2013, 2015, 2019 and 2020, the updated reclamation plan and associated permits and financial assurance were never approved.
This was first public meeting on the Tyrone mine reclamation plan since the original hearing under the New Mexico Mining Act in 2004.
Keeping reclamation plans, permits and financial assurance up to date are critical to ensuring that there are sufficient funds set aside for reclamation should Freeport go bankrupt.
Since 2018, GRIP has worked with Freeport, MMD and the NM Environment Department to get our issues addressed related to the updated reclamation plans, reclamation cost estimates and financial assurance for the Chino, Cobre and Tyrone mines. We have pushed regulators and Freeport for timely renewal of the CCPs, permits and financial assurance in order to protect our community, ground and surface water quality, air quality and wildlife.