Freeport-McMoRan, owner and operator of the Chino and Tyrone copper mines, continues to move forward with expansion projects, while the Malone Bronco Creek exploration project is delayed.
GRIP submitted its public comments on the draft discharge permit renewal and modification for expansion of the Little Rock Mine, an open pit copper mine that is part of the Tyrone mine complex. We are concerned that the current reclamation cost estimate is insufficient to cover water quality monitoring for 100 years post closure. The current estimate only covers 30 years of monitoring. Additionally, we recommend that the agency consider requiring financial assurance sufficient for 500 years for monitoring since it could take that long for pit lake water quality to reach equilibrium, and water quality is likely to exceed standards. The NM Environment Department and the Mining and Minerals Division are requiring Freeport to develop a new reclamation cost estimate. The new information should be available by the end of March.
Freeport continues to move ahead with the new Emma open pit project at the Tyrone Mine. GRIP and local residents requested that the Mining and Minerals Division (MMD) hold a public meeting on the expansion which is likely to be scheduled for sometime in early summer 2022. New reports are now available on the MMD website on noise, viewshed, and lighting impacts, in addition to the permit application, reclamation plan and reclamation cost estimate.
Although approved in July 2021, the Malone Bronco Creek exploration project by Knight Peak in the Burro Mountains has not begun. Drilling was expected to commence in January, but due to delayed delivery of drilling equipment, the work is likely to begin sometime in March.