Elgin Mining Co. Pays $3.2M for Clean-Water Claims
August 1, 2014
One area that mining companies have long been guilty is failing to clean up after mining projects. Lately, though, environmental agencies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Justice have been coming down hard on mining companies that continue to fail to live up to promises made when receiving permission to mine certain areas.
Recently, Elgin Mining Company, located in Vancouver, British Columbia, was awarded contracts for strip mining in two Western Kentucky counties. During the operation, Elgin destroyed streams and wetlands and according to court records were issued four permits between 2005 and 2009 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the understanding that Elgin would willingly comply with the Clean Water Act. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Elgin made no attempt at mitigation.
The company ended up paying $3.07 million to a Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources fund that is used to improve degraded streams and wetlands throughout the state. Elgin also paid $150,000 to the United States.
Tom Joice, a policy director with Kentucky Waterways Alliance environmental group told the Courier-Journal it was, "reassuring to see the U.S. Attorney's office taking an interest in the water impacts from coal mining in Kentucky, and the mitigation required to compensate for those impacts".
Elgin has essentially walked away from its coal mining interest in Kentucky and is now focusing on production at the Bjorkdal Gold Mine in Sweden. However, where in the past a company like Elgin could have just left, this time they are being forced to pay the bill.