The Black Pine Gold Mine, a cyanide heap leach operation, is located in southeastern Idaho, near the town of Burley on U.S. Forest Service 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 for use in their closure permit application.
The visual simulations represented proposed mine expansion activities and reclamation over a 10 year time frame, with revegetation success rate of 50 to 70% on slopes regraded not to exceed 1.5:1. Each visual simulation was done in late summer, during mid-day, from photographs taken by EALA staff on site.
The visual simulation of the mine exploration road shows a variety of grasses, forbs, and shrubs that could reasonably be expected.
The visual simulation of the rehabilitation of the mine haul road emphasized landform regrading on steep slopes, therefore some slumping and dispersion after slope stabilization is portrayed. The existing drainage was considered important, and is shown restored in the visual simulation.
EALA's work added value to the Black Pine Gold Mine project in the following ways...
- Decreased the mining company's costs for design revisions by accurate, realistic, and credible illustration of project intent
- Satisfied the US Forest Service that the mining company's proposed action would protect visual resources
- Effectively communicated the landform and revegetation strategies
- Clearly showed the conservation plan for visual resources and for erosion control and revegetation
- Strengthened the mining company's case for project permitting
- Facilitated a team approach among the mining company, US Forest Service, and sub-contractors