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R. Craig Smith



An Innovative Approach to Reclaim and Close Bankrupt Mine Sites

Bureau of Land Management
Nevada Field Office
Olinghouse Mine, Washoe County, Nevada
craig.smith@blm.nv.gov
Environmental Stewardship

Left to Right: Craig Smith, Gale Norton
Left to Right: Craig Smith, Gale Norton

Reclaiming and closing mines sites is a challenging job, even more so when the mining company and its bonding agency have declared bankruptcy leaving the site in an imminently hazardous condition. When Bureau of Land Management employee, Mr. R. Craig Smith, took on the Olinghouse mine site case, a large amount of cyanide solution was draining from the pad where gold was extracted from crushed ore. Located three miles west of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal boundary and five miles upgradient from the Truckee River, a threatened and endangered fishery, the leaking cyanide posed serious environmental risks to an environmentally and culturally sensitive area. Mr. Smith worked with the mining industry, state regulators, federal partners, the tribe, and the bankrupt company bringing all parties together to develop a plan to expeditiously mitigate threats to the environment. Within one year they had a solution to which all parties agreed, and five months later, one hundred percent of the reclamation requirements were completed.

Accepting the Award: Craig Smith, Nevada State Office, BLM

Left to Right: Bob Anderson, Craig Smith, Steven Griles
Left to Right: Bob Anderson, Craig Smith, Steven Griles