Chevron Mining Inc., Questa Mine (Formerly Molycorp Mine)

Site History:

Chevron Mining Inc. site facilities includes the underground workings, open pit, waste rock, tailings impoundments, and the tailings pipeline. Releases of hazardous substances, including arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, manganese, and zinc, from the Site have occurred from various sources including seepage from contaminated mine waste surface deposits, spills of tailings slurry from the tailings pipeline, and seepage from the tailings ponds.

Location:

The Site is located approximately five miles east of the town of Questa, adjacent to the Red River and the mine tailing ponds are located approximately nine miles west of the mine.

Trustees:

State of New Mexico
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service
United States Department of the Interior

Overview:

The Trustees and Chevron Mining Inc. reached a $4 million settlement to restore groundwater and habitat natural resources that were injured as a result of releases of hazardous substances from the Chevron Mining Inc. mine facility. The consent decree outlining the settlement was approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on September 30, 2015. The settlement includes the transfer of 225 acres of land called the Anderson Ranch to the Bureau of Land Management for conservation and natural resource protection, and also includes the reimbursement of the Trustees’ assessment costs.

Case Status:

Restoration Planning

Restoration Activities:

Natural Resource Trustee representatives for the Questa mine natural resource damage settlement held a public information meeting on April 27, 2016 followed by an open house on April 28, in Questa, NM.  The purpose of the meeting was to provide information about the natural resource damage assessment, the process for restoration project selection, and to provide assistance in the development of restoration project proposals. The deadline for project proposal submittal was August 1, 2016.

Image result for new icon greenThe Trustees carefully evaluated proposals and on November 16, 2017 the Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (“Draft RP/EA”) for the Site was finalized.

The public is invited to attend an informational meeting to answer questions about the document and about the restoration project evaluations on November 29, 2017 from 5:30 to 7:00 PM at: Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7688, 2597 State Highway 522, Questa, NM 87556.

Questa Mine Factsheet – Public Meeting 11/29/17

Restoration Projects Evaluated by the Trustees – Public Meeting 11/29/17

The public is also invited to send written comments on the contents of the Draft RP/EA. The public comment period is open for 30 days, starting on November 17, 2017 and ending on December 18, 2017. Comments must be submitted in writing to the New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, 2105 Osuna Rd NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87113 by December 18, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. Written comments may also be sent by fax to: (505) 346-2542. Comments may also be submitted via e-mail to: nmesfo@fws.gov with “Questa Mine Site RP/EA” in the subject line. If submitting requests electronically, please include name and mailing address.

After the Trustees consider public comments submitted on this Draft RP/EA, the Trustees will select a restoration alternative and finalize the RP/EA. A summary of public comments and the Trustees’ responses to those comments will be included in the final RP/EA.

Hardcopies of the Draft RP/EA may be viewed at the Questa Public Library 6 ½ Municipal Park Road, Questa, New Mexico 87556 and the Taos Public Library, 402 Camino De La Placitas, Taos, New Mexico 87571.

Administrative Record for Molycorp Mine Natural Resource Damage Assessment

 

Chevron Molycorp mine and surroundings

Chevron Mining Inc. mine and surroundings