Sunnyside Gold Corp. may face fines and possible litigation for its refusal to carry out work in the Superfund site of mines around Silverton.
The Environmental Protection Agency said this week the agency will still carry out the cleanup activities but did not respond to questions inquiring about possible consequences for Silverton’s last operating mining company until Wednesday.
According to the EPA, there can be several consequences for Sunnyside Gold’s refusal: The company may be subject to civil penalties of up to $55,907 per day, the EPA may seek judicial enforcement and Sunnyside may be subject to punitive damages in an amount up to three times the amount of any costs incurred by the United States as a result of such failure to comply.
In June, the EPA ordered Sunnyside Gold to install five groundwater wells and two meteorological stations at mining sites around the headwaters of the Animas River as part of the investigation into the Bonita Peak Mining District Superfund site. The company announced it refused to do the work last week.
The Bonita Peak Mining District Superfund site consists of 48 mine sites considered the top polluters responsible for degrading water quality in the Animas River, a handful of which have a connection to Sunnyside Gold’s past operations.
Sunnyside Gold was active from 1985 until it closed the last operating mine in Silverton in 1991. Since then, the company has spent millions in remediation costs and now argues it no longer has any liability for future cleanup actions.