Client: Neutron Energy (now Uranium Resources, Inc.)
Location: Cibola, McKinley, and Sandoval Counties, New Mexico
Challenge. Establish baseline environmental conditions for permitting of mining and processing operations for the Marquez and Southeast uranium deposits.
Solution. As part of plans to develop two uranium deposits, INTERA has provided permitting support to establish baseline environmental conditions on land that includes the former Marquez Mine and Bokum Mill (now called the Juan Tafoya Project). To establish background conditions, we researched data including groundwater flow parameters, water quantity information, water quality, mineralogy, historical operating information, climate and recharge information, and aerial photographs and maps. INTERA evaluated these data, identified data gaps, and subsequently developed, and led the implementation of, a site-specific baseline sampling and analysis plan. While investigation efforts have included evaluating ecological and cultural resources, INTERA’s data collection activities have focused on the characterization and monitoring of surface water and groundwater resources as well as determining environmental conditions at the Bokum Mill site. We also assisted in preparing and implementing a public engagement program for exploratory drilling that involved developing relationships with resource consultants and preparing both informational materials for a series of open house events and a speaker’s kit for client employees. We also designed an “adaptive management” approach to foster land grant and tribal interactions. Presentations to the public have focused on Neutron’s commitment to environmental compliance and protection of water resources. Establishing environmental conditions is an integral part of obtaining the permits required for mining and mineral processing and for subsequently demonstrating regulatory compliance. INTERA’s work will provide the necessary baseline against which future mining activities can be measured for potential impacts to the environment.