Bunker Hill Mining Corporation announces the launch of its water quality tracking platform, which uploads data onto its website every 5 minutes. In line with its commitment to transparency and partnership, this gives public access to both real-time data on the quality of mine water being discharged from the Kellogg Tunnel and an interactive database to allow detailed historical analysis by all stakeholders.
Bradley Barnett, Vice President of Sustainability stated: “There can be no lasting trust without transparency. Giving our local community and key stakeholders, such as the US EPA, unfiltered access to our water discharge and management data are key to building an effective partnership with those involved in ensuring the highest possible standards of environmental management.”
THE WATER MANAGEMENT PARTNERSHIP: “TEAMWORK IN ACTION”
The Bunker Hill mine is located within the Bunker Hill Mining and Metallurgical Complex Superfund site, established in 1983 by the US EPA to ensure the environmental cleanup and restoration work in areas contaminated by mining waste in the Coeur D’Alene River Watershed, Coeur D’Alene Lake, and the upper reaches of the Spokane River.
Water that flows from the Bunker Hill Mine is treated by the US EPA-run Central Treatment Plant (CTP), before it is discharged into the South Fork of the Coeur D’Alene River. This reduces the concentration of metals and acidity at or below established discharge limits.
Working in partnership with the US EPA, the State of Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ), MineWater LLC, Klepfer Mining Services and Stantec Consulting International LLC, the Company has spent a year analyzing the mine’s water system to determine and implement new ways to improve the quality of the water before it needs to be treated at the CTP. This will result in an overall reduction in the cost of water treatment. Continued research, improvement and optimization of these efforts will further improve the robustness of the combined solution for the benefit of all stakeholders.
Concurrent with this, the Company is a participating stakeholder in the Basin Environmental Improvement Project Commission (BEIPC), a partnership established to implement, direct and/or coordinate environmental remediation, natural resource restoration, and related measures to address water quality and heavy metal contamination.
To further ensure its efforts have the optimal impact, the Company is now a public participant in the National Academy of Sciences study into “The Future of Water Quality in the Coeur d’Alene Lake”. This is alongside the US EPA, IDEQ, Kootenai County, and the Coeur D’Alene Tribe.
REAL TIME WATER QUALITY TRACKING PLATFORM
The Water Quality Tracking Platform is found within the ESG section of the website. It consists of two parts:
The Company’s In-Situ data logger is stationed at the Kellogg Tunnel, which is the mine’s single point of discharge. It measures and reports pH, water flow rate, conductivity, turbidity, dissolved solids and temperature of the mine’s effluent. The results are uploaded every five minutes to the company’s website. To assist with analysis, this facility also allows users to export data over a time period they choose if they wish to conduct any independent analysis. As an example, the pH for March 2021 is 5.72 vs 3.17 in Feb 2020. The dashboard is shown below:
The interactive database allows users to customize analysis of much more detailed water quality testing. Bunker Hill collects water samples from 30+ locations on a monthly basis. The samples are sent to nearby Silver Valley Analytical laboratory for wide spectrum testing. The system produces time series trends of key metrics such as concentrations of dissolved zinc, lead and cadmium, pH, water flow and metal loads for zinc, lead and cadmium. These analyses were selected for the launch of the system because they are the main “contaminants of concern” in the Silver Valley’s water system. Each section also allows user to study average values for the full range of analytes begin tested. The user is allowed to adjust the time period over which values are calculated along with the different locations the user wishes to study. Plans exist for additional analyses to be added to the database as additional data is collected and meaningful trends and relationships are identified.
The system currently allows users to analyze the Bunker Water system using plan view maps of its most significant zones as focal points. The 5 level of the mine was selected as a focal point because a significant amount of the acid production in the mine occurs in and around the east side of the mine on that level. The database allows stakeholders to track environmental performance on a location-by-location basis in this important area. The 9 level is important because it is the point confluence for the many different water sources within in the mine that contribute to the mine’s effluent being discharged from the Kellogg Tunnel on this level. The system allows users to understand the spatial relationships between relatively poor-quality water sources and relatively good quality water sources and it also helps users to compare these different locations against each other.
The Company’s monthly data collection started in September 2020. The system also incorporates limited data that was collected by the US EPA in 1998-9 in accordance with their own environmental study protocols. While Bunker Hill has developed its own Quality Assurance Project Plan to ensure data integrity, the protocols and procedures used by Bunker Hill’s water management team may differ from those used by the US EPA its contractors. Both data sets are included to give users a sense of where, in what ways and how much the water system has changed over the past twenty years. Bunker Hill has included many of the US EPA’s monitoring locations for this purpose.
With user feedback, additional features will be added to both of the existing features of the platform. In addition to water quality monitoring and reporting, Bunker Hill plans to develop a range of environmental performance tracking systems in the near future as a component of its plans to restart Bunker Hill Mine.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has conducted surface water stream gaging and water-quality monitoring in the Coeur d’Alene watershed since 1990 and as part of EPA’s Basin Environmental Monitoring Program since 2004.
Mr. Scott E. Wilson, CPG, President of Resource Development Associates Inc. and a consultant to the Company, is an Independent “Qualified Person” as defined by NI 43-101 and is acting at the Qualified Person for the Company. He has reviewed and approved the technical information summarized in this news release.
About Bunker Hill Mining Corp.
Bunker Hill Mining Corp. has an option to acquire 100% of all saleable assets at the Bunker Hill Mine. Information about the Company is available on its website, www.bunkerhillmining.com, or within the SEDAR and EDGAR databases.
For additional information contact:
Sam Ash, President and Chief Executive Officer, +1 208 786 6999, firstname.lastname@example.org