Two environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit Monday aimed at preventing acidic material from being dumped into a waste pond at the Thompson Creek molybdenum mine west of Challis.
“We are filing this lawsuit to protect the Salmon River,” Lynne Stone of the Boulder-White Clouds Council said in a statement issued along with the Idaho Conservation League.
“The Thompson Creek mine is 2,000 feet above and five miles from the Salmon River. Until the people of Idaho know, from full scientific analysis, that the tailings impoundment is the safest place for permanent disposal of the mine’s most acidic material, none of it should be put there.”
The groups want a federal judge to block the dumping of 186,000 tons of concentrated pyrite into a 500-acre tailings pond at the mine over the next four months.
The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management last month approved Thompson Creek Mining Co.’s plan to separate pyrite from other tailings material at the mine’s processing mill, and then use the so-called clean sand to install new drains at the base of the tailings dam.
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