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Report: Mining Company Promises Don't Hold True

December 8, 2006

Boise, ID - A new scientific report released Thursday on the metal mining industry shows that while companies always promise rivers, streams and groundwater won't be contaminated, it almost always happens.

Environmental Engineer Ann Maest did some of the research. She says every metal mine that has polluted the water in the United States either didn't expect that it would happen, or thought it could be controlled.

"All the mines with exceedances predicted that there wouldn't be any adverse impacts to water quality as a result of mining."

Mining engineer Jim Kuipers is another of the study authors, who spent two years investigating which types of mines are most likely to pollute. He says a gold mine planned for the headwaters of the Boise River appears to be in that category.

"Mines like the Atlanta mine in Idaho appear to suffer from the same likelihoods of failures as mines that were permitted as long as 30 years ago."

Kuipers says more research needs to be done on-site before mines are approved, and feels that mining companies should required to post higher bonds to pay for clean up. The company building the Atlanta gold mine says it has new technology that will reduce the likelihood of pollution.

The full report is available online, at

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - ID