The Department of Justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection announced a $25 million agreement for the cleanup of the Rio Tinto mine, an abandoned copper mine in Elko County, Nevada, USA. Four companies have agreed to pay for the environmental project.

The state of Nevada will oversee the cleanup with input from EPA and the Shoshone Paiute Tribes of Duck Valley. The four corporations financing the cleanup, Atlantic Richfield Co., DuPont and Co., Cliffs Natural Resources and Teck are corporate successors to companies that operated the mine from 1932 to 1976. A fifth entity, Mountain City Remediation, has been created by the four defendants to conduct the cleanup. The Rio Tinto mine site is located approximately 2.5 miles south of Mountain City on Mill Creek, a tributary of the East Fork Owyhee River.

Under the terms of the agreement, the defendants agreed to remove mine tailings from Mill Creek, improve the creek to support the redband trout, and improve water quality in Mill Creek and the East Fork Owyhee River. The defendants will also pay for the Shoshone Paiute Tribes to monitor the cleanup. The companies are required to provide robust performance guarantees including payments to a trust account they will use to implement the cleanup.

The consent decree, a formal settlement under the federal Superfund law, will be posted in the Federal Register and will be available for public comment for a period of 30 days. The consent decree will be available to be viewed on the Justice Department website: www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html

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