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Case Summary: $143 Million Cleanup Settlement for New Mexico Mine Site

On August 9, 2016, the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA), Department of Justice, and the state of New Mexico announced a settlement with Chevron Mining, Inc. (CMI) requiring approximately $143 million in cleanup work at the Chevron Questa Mine Superfund Site. The work will include a pilot project to cover and revegetate approximately 275 acres of mine waste, operation of a water treatment plant, and installation of a groundwater extraction system. CMI will also pay over $5.2 million to reimburse EPA’s past oversight costs.

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Information about the Chevron Questa Mine Superfund Site

The Chevron Questa Mine Superfund Site, formerly Molycorp, Inc., located in Questa, NM, operated intermittently from 1919 to 2014. Mining operations began in 1920. Open pit mining took place from 1965 to 1983. While the mine was operating, approximately 328 million tons of acid-generating waste rock were excavated and deposited in nine large waste rock piles. After the molybdenum was extracted from the ore, tailings were transported by pipeline to the tailings facility and deposited in impoundments. Mining operations and waste disposal practices contaminated soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater. Site investigations, remedy design and cleanup are ongoing.

More information is available from the Chevron Questa Mine Superfund site profile sheet.

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Summary of settlement agreement

This agreement represents the largest settlement of its kind for cleanup work in Region 6, and represents the next phase of cleanup at the former molybdenum mine site. CMI had previously conducted cleanup work at nearby Eagle Rock Lake, the removal of numerous tailings spills, and a pilot project at the Goat Hill North waste rock pile. This new phase will improve efforts to permanently prevent site contamination from affecting the Red River and other water resources, and from posing a risk to nearby communities and the surrounding environment.

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Contact information

For more information, contact

Elizabeth Pletan
Assistant Regional Counsel
(214) 665-8525

Kevin A. Shade
Enforcement Officer
(214) 665-2708

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region 6
1445 Ross Ave.
Dallas, TX  75202

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