New Mexico Water Regulators Approve New Copper Rules
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Santa Fe, NM – The New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) approved amendments to the New Mexico Environment Department’s Copper Rules in a 9-1 vote on September 10. The new Copper Rules will provide the clarity, consistency and scientific support to improve the level of environmental protection on New Mexico copper mines.
“The rules approved Thursday by the commission offer comprehensive and environmentally protective regulations for protecting New Mexico’s environment and ground water, while also setting consistent expectations for the mining industry,” said Mike Bowen, NMMA Executive Director.
The newly-approved Copper Rules ensure above all that New Mexico’s environment and drinking water are closely protected, while maintaining a positive business climate for future investment and jobs. Specifically, the rules require:
• Detailed design features for new facilities and the expansion of existing facilities that are specifically intended to protect ground water;
• Specific ground and surface water monitoring criteria and corrective action timelines.
• Detailed criteria for closing a mine, including re-grading land and installing groundcover to minimize infiltration of precipitation into and through mined materials that might otherwise reach ground water;
• Defined engineering design requirements for waste rock, leach stockpiles and impoundments; and
• Clear and specific design technology requirements for impoundments, tanks and pipelines.
The new Copper Rules recommended by NMED and approved by WQCC were developed during months of community meetings that included a diverse group of interests including state officials, academics, resource management experts, environmental groups and industry representatives.
The NMMA would like to express its appreciation to the WQCC and the NMED for their attention to conducting an open, transparent process for addressing an issue critical to ensuring environmental protection and future investment in New Mexico.
About New Mexico Mining Association (NMMA)
The New Mexico Mining Association is committed to advancing the mineral resources and related industries in New Mexico and to protect New Mexico’s environment. The NMMA serves as a spokesman for the mining industry in New Mexico and works to keep the industry informed on pending legislation. For more information visit www.nmmining.org.