Aries was retained by an insurance company to provide litigation technical support regarding mine closure for several mines located in the southwest United States. Aries assessed mining processes that released contaminants into property soil, groundwater, and surface waters.
Groundwater contamination resulted from precipitation contacting sulfide-bearing rock exposed during mining, which formed sulfuric acid causing metals to leach from the surrounding rock. The leached metals then flowed into site-area groundwater and surface waters. Tailings ponds that received processed ore waste also generated an acidic metal-rich wastewater which contaminated surface water and groundwater. Additionally, the smelting process generated a slag waste disposed of on site, metal laden air emissions, and acid blowdown that was discharged to surface waters.