A reclamation and closure plan is required by law to ensure that, when mining activity is completed, the mine is closed and the land is reclaimed and restored. The reclamation and closure plan is worked out in great detail and submitted to the permitting agencies for approval before the project is constructed.
To ensure that reclamation is properly carried out and meets permit requirements, the law requires the mine operator, Donlin Gold, to provide financial assurance in the form of a bond or other financial insurance that is independently guaranteed.
Reclamation involves a wide range of immediate and long-term activities, including re-contouring the land, covering it with soil where needed and seeding it with vegetation native to the area. Reclamation will be ongoing through construction and operation as certain phases of the project are completed. Long after the mine is closed, environmental monitoring of the area will continue.
Once the mine is closed, Donlin Gold is proposing to allow the open pit to fill with water and become a lake over a period of many years. The water quality of the lake will be continuously monitored and, before any water is released, it will be treated to meet strict water-quality standards.
After completing all mining and milling activities, excess water will be pumped from a tailing’s storage facility to the pit lake. The tailings area will then be covered with rock and gravel. The tailings storage facility, along with the waste rock facility and other disturbed areas, will be reclaimed by being re-contoured, covered with soil as needed and seeded with a grass mix.
Over time, native trees and plants will naturally reclaim the area. All buildings and equipment will be taken apart and removed. Some material will be buried in permitted on-site landfill trenches that will be covered with soil and reclaimed, as required by regulatory agencies.