DEQ Releases Record of Decision for Mine Amendment at Golden Sunlight
September 22, 2021
On September 13, 2021, Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a Record of Decision for Barrick’s Golden Sunlight Mine (GSM) proposed tailings reprocessing project. With this decision and the reclamation bond approval and (GSM) financial bond posting on September 15, Golden Sunlight is on track to start reprocessing the tailings facility and produce its first shipment of sulfide concentrates by the end of the year.
“The Golden Sunlight tailings reprocessing project is an exciting step forward for the site, addressing a known environmental concern while also providing jobs and economic benefits to the State of Montana,” said site manager Chuck Buus. “Barrick extends its thanks to DEQ and to Governor Gianforte for providing a thorough and timely review of the project.”
The draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project was published for public review and comment on July 15, 2021. DEQ also held a public meeting in Whitehall to provide information and accept comment on the draft EIS.
The project involves the reprocessing of tailings, from which gold was previously extracted in the Golden Sunlight mills. The new project will focus on remining and concentrating sulfur from tailings waste materials that were generated decades ago, eliminating a source of potential groundwater contamination by creating a valuable new product. After reprocessing, the remaining benign material will be backfilled into the Mineral Hill pit. The concentrated sulfur will be sold to and used in gold production by Nevada Gold Mines (NGM), the largest gold producing complex in the world. Barrick, which owns Golden Sunlight, is also the majority owner and operator of NGM.