The Barrick-Mercur Gold Mine is located in west central Utah, near the town of Tooele. This cyanide heap leach process mine is located near U.S. Forest Service and BLM land. The mine operators contracted with Ellsworth and Associates, landscape architects, inc. to produce a series of computer visual simulations of the proposed reclamation, erosion control, and revegetation activities. Visual simulations represented proposed mine expansion activities and reclamation over a 10 year time period. EALA's landscape architects were asked to first design, then simulate a new landform for the heap leach area which would be visually similar to the natural land forms of the area. EALA staff also developed the conceptual revegetation and landform design for the existing administrative and ore processing facilities.
The first visual simulation illustrates the full extent of the new landform in panorama, and shows the potential for revegetation and erosion control on the slopes. The visual simulation shows the flat top of the leach area re-contoured and shaped to resemble the surrounding landscape.
The next visual simulation shows a view of the north side of the landform. The proposed drainage and adjusted road alignment are also visible. Pockets of snow were simulated to show the shape and form of the proposed drainages.
The final visual simulation was used to communicate the intent of the mine operator to leave the site with an acceptable landform, revegetated, and without erosion problems. The existing access road was conceptually designed, meeting grade at the upper and lower ends.
EALA's work added value to the Barrick Mercur Gold Mine project in the following ways...
- Saved costs for project design time due to credible and easily understood illustration of design intent
- Effectively depicted the proposed new landform, how it would blend with the surrounding landscape, and thereby minimize visual impacts
- Showed how erosion would be controlled on site through careful landform and drainage design
- Increased the ability of the mining company to communicate the complex reclamation plan to state and federal regulatory agencies
- Provided an extremely informative communication tool for public use