Argonaut Mine: Water Diversion System and Dam Retrofit


[Upbeat Music] [Tammy Trearse] The mine was originally formed back in eighteen sixties after the goldrush needless to say. It started from a smaller mine and then some people came in bought it and it became the Argonaut Mine. It has operated continuously up until 1942 when all the gold mines in the country were shut down for the war effort. It never did reopen… [Music] [Tammy Trearse] and it was basically to retain the tailings that flow downhill so that the tailings part would settle out in the water would just flow around it. [Music] In the process of crushing the rock it released the arsenic. Which is the biggest contamination concern we have on the site. Contamination from arsenic is allowed at less than 1 part per million. This site at the highest levels is at 42,000. [Music] [Fernando Amador] As a result of those studies have been determined this dam is in bad shape. If this dam were to fail the hundred sixty thousand tons of toxic mud contaminated with arsenic would flow through this area and down into the city of Jackson. [Music] [Tammy Trearse] Our diversion system is kind of secondary dam up higher to keep the water from pooling around the dam and actually is diverting it around the dam and into the drainage that would normally go into. [Fernando Amador] First the gravity-fed lines will take the water and into the plunge pool and across through the culvert and if this system gets overwhelmed then the pumps will kick on. The two big pumps there. In here there are two floats that will turn the pump on and off when necessary so it’s an automatic system. [Music] [Fernando Amador] So our objective is for this interim system to operate for several years while we find the permanent solution which would be to retrofit the concrete structure and so while this is operating we’re going to be coming out here and inspecting and maintaining making sure that everything is operating correctly. [Upbeat Music]

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