Copper mine operator in Arizona fined for water, air violations

PHOENIX, AZ, Mar. 21, 2011 -- Nord Resources Corp. has agreed to pay a $65,000 penalty as part of a consent judgment for air quality, wastewater and drinking water violations at its Johnson Camp copper mine near the community of Dragoon in Cochise County (Arizona)...

Mar 21st, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ, Mar. 21, 2011 -- The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and Arizona Attorney General's Office announced today that Nord Resources Corp. has agreed to pay a $65,000 penalty as part of a consent judgment for air quality, wastewater and drinking water violations at its Johnson Camp copper mine near the community of Dragoon in Cochise County.

ADEQ inspections conducted during March 2008 confirmed serious violations at the Johnson Camp open pit copper mine including starting construction without obtaining an air quality permit and failure to apply water to dirt haul roads to minimize dust emissions.

Nord Resources received a water quality violation for a March 11, 2008, surface discharge of about 1,000 gallons of acidic leach solution onto the ground between leach ponds rather than in the ponds. Nord Resources also was cited for another discharge of about 30,000 gallons of leach solution and storm water into an unlined, temporary ditch which allowed the discharge to enter the soil between February 2008 and April 2008.

The facility was cited for drinking water violations including operation without disinfection or monitoring and no backflow prevention at cross-connections. Nord Resources was also cited for operating its on-site water system without a certified operator.

"These are serious violations," said ADEQ Director Henry Darwin. "But the company did react quickly to resolve the violations and we hope this settlement is a new beginning."

"Mining companies need to rigorously comply with state standards to protect the health of our citizens and our environment," Attorney General Tom Horne said.

In 2009 and 2010, Nord obtained all necessary air quality and aquifer protection permits required to operate its Johnson Camp Mine. Under the provisions of the settlement, Nord agreed to complete the construction of about $1 million in improvements to its drinking water system by July 1, 2011. The consent judgment is subject to court approval.

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