Tahoe Resources reports pregnant solution discharge at La Arena
Tahoe Resources reported a discharge of pregnant solution at its La Arena mine in Peru. Earlier this morning, La Arena employees discovered five significant holes were cut into the top of the pregnant solution pipeline which transfers solution from leach pad 4B to the pregnant solution pond. The pipeline runs across an inactive leach pad which is covered with a raincoat to prevent fresh storm water from mixing with process solutions. The same raincoat also covers the pregnant solution pipeline running from pad 4B. Based on a preliminary internal investigation, the company believes that in an apparent theft attempt, holes were cut into the top of the pipeline in order to place bags of carbon inside of the pipeline to absorb gold from the solution. One of the bags of carbon blocked the pipeline and the solution sprayed from the hole onto the top of the raincoat sitting above the pipeline. Subsequently, the solution flowed across the raincoat into a storm water collection pond designed to discharge clean water into the Sayapampa Creek, which runs through part of our property. Based on the company's initial investigation, it is estimated that around 600 cubic meters of pregnant solution may have flowed into the Sayapampa Creek via the storm water management system. Upon identification of the discharge, the company immediately initiated our emergency response protocols including conducting extensive inspections of the surrounding areas from the operation and assessing the potential impacts to the communities and environment downstream. The company reported the incident to the Agency for Environmental Assessment and Control, the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the police and the public prosecutor. The police and OEFA are both expected on site today to conduct their respective investigations. The surrounding communities have also been notified. Given that the impacted pipeline is a gravity-flow line and the holes are at the top of the pipeline, the company is able to safely maintain solution flow from pad 4B without leakage into the storm water management system now that the obstruction has been removed. The company expects that the damage to the raincoat and pipeline will be repaired over the next several days, once all relevant authorities have conducted their initial investigations. Equally important, the company is already in the process of addressing the contamination to the storm water management system. As a result, the company does not anticipate a material impact to production at this time.