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Featured Story

Missouri Ecological Services Field Office

Settles $7.2 Million Natural Resource Damages Case

A scientist from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources holds a white-eyed vireo during the trustees' migratory bird injury determination study near the Buick Smelter.

 

 

A scientist from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources holds a white-eyed vireo during the trustees' migratory bird

injury determination study near the Buick Smelter.

Photo by John Weber/USFWS.

 

May 2015

 

Staff at the Columbia, Missouri Ecological Services Field Office and their co-trustees at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service have jointly reached settlement for injuries to natural resources with the owners of a former metals mining and smelting operation in southeast Missouri. The trustees for Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration have negotiated a settlement agreement for the sum of $7,240,000 with Cyprus Amax Minerals to resolve the company’s liabilities for releases of hazardous substances from the Buick Mine and Mill and the Buick Smelter site near Bixby, Missouri.

 

The Buick Mine and Mill began production in 1968 through a joint venture between the corporate predecessors of Cyprus Amax Minerals and the Homestake Lead Company of Missouri. The mine and mill produced lead, zinc and copper concentrates using a fully mechanized room and pillar mining technique. Waste products from the milling process were stored in a valley fill tailings impoundment onsite covering more than 600 acres. The impoundment permanently covers portions of Strother Creek, a tributary of the popular and beautiful Black River. The mine and mill are still operational, though no longer owned or operated by Cyprus Amax. The Buick Smelter began smelting lead concentrates in 1969 and was the source of contamination and injury to thousands of acres of land. The smelter was converted to a secondary smelter for the recycling of lead based products in 1991 and remains operational today.

 

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Last updated: May 11, 2015