The Golden Queen Mine site gold deposits are located in the Soledad Mounatin Mining District were developed intermittently over a period of time extending from the early 1900’s to 1980’s. An extensive system of underground working as well as a small open pit, heap leach gold were developed at the site. The quantity of mine tailings were produced as a result of the both types of mine development and milling operations at the mine.
Approximately +100,000 tons of mill tailings were generated by mining operations. A portion of these these mill tailings have discharged from the mill tailings stockpiles and onto the alluvial fan surface, due to erosion from storm events since the mine had ceased operations. The Golden Queen tailings contain elevated levels of arsenic.
Significant potential human health risks to the community and regional environmental impacts may have resulted from release of arsenic-bearing tailings into the waters of the state and airborne sources. The Cactus Mine has been designated as an AML CERCLA site. Soil and sediment sample results indicate that elevated arsenic levels exist on the hillslope areas at the mine and in steam and floodplain sediments at locations were the hillslope drain has failed.
A preliminary site inspection was undertaken during October 2007, when elevated concentrations of arsenic were detected in the mill tailings material. This survey was followed up by a detailed investigation during January 2008 by the USGS technical team. The results of this latter investigation will be incorporated into a multi-faceted environmental study of arsenic contamination in the region.
- The CERCLA remediation plan by BLM staff is awaiting CERCLA site study coordination with the USGS technical team No recommendations for remediation have been made to date, due to the early phase of site investigation.
Risk: Water quality, Arsenic contamination
Location: Section 6, T12N, R10W,SBBM, Kern Co. CA
Field Office: Ridgecrest
Congressional District: 25