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Lead Queen Mine leaking orange sludge, iced tea-colored liquid

Posted: 5:02 PM, Apr 16, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-17 01:14:25Z
'Orange sludge' leaking from Lead Queen Mine
'Orange sludge' leaking from Lead Queen Mine
'Orange sludge' leaking from Lead Queen Mine
'Orange sludge' leaking from Lead Queen Mine

More than 70 years after its closure, and after multiple remediation attempts, the Lead Queen Mine near the US-Mexico border is once again leaking.

During a March monitoring visit by the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance (PARA), uncovered pools of orange sludge and iced tea-colored liquid in front of and inside the abandoned mine were found, according to a media release.

Mine drainage and contaminants from the mine travel into Sonoita Creek and Patagonia Lake, according to the media release. The Sonoita Creek continues beyond the lake and joins with the Santa Cruz River north of Nogales.

"It is disturbing that after 70 years and multiple remediation attempts by the Coronado National Forest, the Lead Queen continues to expose human and non-human life to multiple contaminants,” said Julie Olbrantz, PARA’s Coordinator.

According to a media release from PARA, a volunteer discovered a substance similar in appearance to the current leaks downstream from the Lead Queen after heavy precipitation and notified the Coronado National Forest in October of 2014.

At the time, the Coronado National Forest outsourced remediation and clean-up of the Lead Queen site.

PARA has alerted the Coronado National Forest to the latest leakage.