Idaho Strategic Resources is pioneering new pollution prevention efforts at its mill in Kellogg, Idaho. The Silver Valley has long been one of the world’s most productive mining areas, and we have committed to reducing the impact that mining operations have on the environment. By changing the way that ore is processed, we have significantly reduced our water use and improved mineral extraction. The New Jersey Mill is an example of innovation leading to pollution prevention success.
The New Jersey Mill uses a paste tailings storage to both improve disposal and increase water recovery. Once ore has been processed, the tailings are dewatered for storage and the water is reused in-process. This approach creates several benefits to the mine. First, tailings disposal is improved by eliminating the need for retention ponds and reducing the risk of release and contamination of nearby surface waters. Second, by dewatering the tailings pile, water used for processing can be reused, which creates additional economic and ecological benefits. By reducing the need to dispose of wastewater, the company is reducing pollution loads to surface waters or to retention ponds for storage. At full capacity, the New Jersey Mill saves over 50 million gallons of water per year, or the combined equivalent water use of over 350 households per year.