Project: Borealis Mine

Client: Borealis Mining Company

Location: Nevada

Borealis Mine – Borealis Mining Company, Nevada

Borealis Mine – Borealis Mining Company, Nevada

Project Background 

The Borealis Mine is located outside of Hawthorne, Nevada in Mineral County on public land administered by the United States Forest Service. The Mine consists of open pits and waste rock facilities, a heap leach pad with process solution conveyance and ponds, and an ADR facility. Sunstone has provided environmental support to Borealis Mining Company, LLC since 2016, at which point the mine had no environmental staff. Borealis Mining Company made the decision to restart crushing and mining operations in late 2020 with a start date of May 2021. 

Major Projects 

Mine Restart & Operations 

Sunstone developed a cost model for Borealis Mining to determine the profitability of a potential restart. Once the decision was made to restart the mine, we led the Environmental portion. We were tasked with submitting permit applications and modifications and advising mine staff on permit stipulations during the restart process. We permitted a Public Water System through the Bureau of Safe Drinking Water and submitted two Class II Air Quality Operating Permit revisions through the Bureau of Air Pollution Control. During operations, we guided personnel on state and federal permit requirements and maintained operations within all permit stipulations. Through this work, Sunstone was able to keep the operating mine in good standing with all state and federal agencies. 

Other Projects 

Groundwater Remediation Project 

Sunstone samples groundwater monitoring wells at Borealis quarterly in compliance with the Water Pollution Control Permit. We noticed an increasing trend in nitrate in one of the wells in 2020. The NDEP required that Borealis develop a plan to investigate the occurrence of nitrate and other contaminants in the well. To investigate the cause, Sunstone managed the development of multiple work plans that were submitted and approved by the NDEP. We oversaw trenching and test pitting activities and were able to determine the cause of the contamination. We implemented mitigation efforts and are currently working with the NDEP to wrap up the project. 

Heap Leach Pad and Backfill  

In 2017, Borealis’s East Ridge Pit had an issue with persistent ponded meteoric water. The NDEP required a Corrective Action Plan due to the potentially harmful levels of constituents in the ponded water. Sunstone developed a Corrective Action Plan that included sampling, detailed plans and a schedule for evaluating impacts, and mitigation actions. We received agency approval and execution of the CAP was completed in just three months. Ponding has not been an issue in the East Ridge Pit since the execution of this plan.  

Mercury Remediation 

Mercury contamination outside of the ADR building was discovered at Borealis in August of 2018 during an inspection, and the NDEP required that Borealis investigate the cause of the contamination. Sunstone sampled the material and developed a report based on the results proving that the mercury was tracked out from the building and did not originate from the solution ditch. We helped Borealis implement new best management practices to prevent elemental mercury from exiting the facility in the future. The BMRR accepted the report in December 2018 and there haven’t been any further issues with. 

Project Manager: Eric Dougherty, PMP – Vice President / Senior Consultant

Eric Dougherty

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