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Release Date: 9/16/1996
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1578

  (San Francisco)--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the state of Arizona today announced that Cyprus Bagdad Copper Corp., a subsidiary of Cyprus Mineral Corp., will pay penalties totalling $760,000 for discharging contaminated water from the Cyprus Bagdad Copper Mine near the town of Bagdad in Yavapai County, Arizona.  The discharges involved various facilities including tailings ponds, leach dumps, and a sewage treatment plant, but by far the major discharges came from the Copper Creek Leaching Basin, in which acidic, copper-tainted underground seepage entered Boulder Creek.

     In a consent decree lodged in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, the company agreed to pay $285,000 to the state of Arizona and $475,000 to the U.S. Treasury, to settle charges of violations of state law and the federal Clean Water Act.  

     "Water pollution from mines is a serious problem in Arizona," said Alexis Strauss, U.S. EPA's Water Management Division director, "and mining companies have a serious responsibility to prevent it."

     Kimberly MacEachern, Director of the Water Quality Division for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality said, "This is a good example of how the mining industry and government can work together to protect the public health and the environment by taking responsibility for past violations and taking steps to prevent future violations."

     The Cyprus Bagdad copper mine encompasses approximately 40,000 acres, which includes an open pit, and heaps of finely- crushed ore through which a sulfuric acid solution is trickled to leach out copper.

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