DENVER (AP) – A mining company has agreed to pay Colorado $1.6 million to resolve its liability for natural resource damage related to the 2015 Gold King Mine spill that fouled rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The proposed consent decree with Sunnyside Gold Corp. follows Sunnyside settlements with New Mexico and the Navajo Nation earlier this year.
Attorney General Phil Weiser’s office said Monday that a Denver federal court will decide whether to approve the decree after a 30-day public comment period.
Sunnyside admits no fault in the agreement.
Sunnyside’s parent, Kinross Gold Corp., didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
Sunnyside operated a mine next to Gold King near Silverton that closed in 1991. A federal investigation found that bulkheads to plug that mine led to a buildup of water from Gold King containing heavy metals. A contractor for the Environmental Protection Agency inadvertently triggered the spill while attempting to mitigate the buildup.
The area has since been declared a Superfund site.
Weiser, Dan Gibbs, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, and Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of state health department, will work with local governments and not-for-profit groups to determine how to allocate the money.
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