Tintina Resources Inc. is pleased to announce that the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has granted Tintina permission to conduct aquifer pumping tests in three new wells recently drilled under existing exploration permits.
Two 30-day pumping tests and one 24 hour test will collect groundwater data in the Johnny Lee Deposit area and provide additional baseline data on groundwater levels, rates of subsurface flow and hydraulic connectivity among shallow to deep aquifers. This information will be used to provide baseline water quality data required by the state for environmental permitting and ensure any future mine design will effectively evaluate water needs, and meet all requirements for water protection.
"We used very conservative assumptions based on expected groundwater pumping rates to estimate anticipated groundwater pumping rates. These assumptions have been incorporated into our exploration license amendment for the current pump tests. Since then, we have measured much lower sustainable pumping rates from our new test wells. These results indicate we will pump approximately 650,000 gallons during the upcoming tests. This is less than the volume of one Olympic-sized swimming pool and less than half of the original estimate," VP of Exploration Jerry Zieg stated. "We are pleased with the lower anticipated volume of water and the resulting low water application rate to be applied over a 12 acre area through a complex irrigation-type sprinkler arrangement, called a Land Application Disposal (LAD) system."
As a result of these lower than expected flow rates, Tintina plans to use tanks to store water pumped from the test wells, rather than the originally proposed lined pond. The stored water will be pumped from the tanks, through a pipeline to a location over 2,300 feet from the nearest creek before it is dispersed at a rate of less than 1/2 cup per square foot per day over the LAD area. The total volume expected to be applied to the LAD area is less than 30% of normal evaporation and plant uptake rates for the non-native grassland vegetation (similar to pasture grass) present in the area. Water will be applied once daily across the LAD area, for less than two hours, during the peak daily evaporation period, ensuring water from the pumping tests will either evaporate or be used by plants and will not infiltrate to groundwater or discharge to surface water.
Although a minute amount of arsenic is naturally present in the groundwater pumped from the test wells, the cumulative amount of arsenic to be added to the soils of the LAD area is calculated to be about 0.013 pounds per acre, which is 136 times less than the allowable EPA standard of 1.78 pounds arsenic per acre to soils.
"These are important water tests for us to complete so that we can collect groundwater information required for submission of a mine operating permit application for Black Butte as well as provide data to ensure the state and the public that all environmental laws regarding water quality and quantity will be met. Tintina is convinced that our LAD design is sound, and the state, by permitting this pumping test is apparently confident that no infiltration or discharge to groundwater or surface water will occur. Surface and ground water monitoring and frequent sampling required by the state will make sure we continually meet all required standards. Tintina is wholeheartedly committed to working with the DEQ and surrounding communities to ensure development of the best mine possible," concluded Chairman of the Board Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse.