Mine Oversight and Stability
The Cayuga Mine operates under a Mined Land Reclamation Permit issued by the DEC in 1975. Permit renewals were approved in 1985, 1997, 2003, 2007, and 2012 and modifications were approved in 2013 and 2015. In each case, DEC determined that there would be no significant adverse environmental impact from mining.
In the mid-1990s Cargill undertook a thorough environmental assessment of the region to verify Cargill’s understanding of the geology. This work has served as a critical foundation for the continued evaluation and study of mine stability and operations. Data collected through these continuing studies is regularly evaluated and verified by numerous third-party experts employed by DEC and Cargill.
Since 2002 the Cayuga Mine has submitted an annual report on the status of special conditions outlined in the permit. The primary focus is on mine stability, three year mine plans and water management. DEC utilizes the services of Dr. Vincent Scovazzo, an internationally recognized mine stability expert from the John T. Boyd Company, for mine stability review and participation in the annual on-site visit and inspection of the mine. Over the years, Cargill has relied on several similarly credentialed experts to assist its own mine stability and other technical evaluations. Each year Cargill performs an internal risk review with leaders to evaluate and manage the risks associated with mining.
In addition, the federal Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) oversees mine safety such as adequacy of underground ventilation and emergency access. MSHA inspects the mine every calendar quarter. Each of these inspections typically lasts six to eight weeks. It is Cargill’s concern for mine safety and MSHA requirements that drive Cargill toward the construction of Shaft #4.
Cargill has received approval from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation for a new air shaft and its associated facilities. Information on the State Environmental Quality Review Determination is available at www.dec.ny.gov/enb/20160831_reg0.html
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why a new airshaft?
Cargill is committed to providing a safe work environment for mine employees. The new air shaft will enhance and provide a sustained safe operation of the mine by increasing fresh air ventilation and reducing the evacuation travel times from the mining areas to the surface for the crews.
As mining continues under Cayuga Lake, how much bedrock will separate the lakebed and the mine?
More than 600 feet of bedrock will separate the mine and Cayuga Lake. Cargill has worked with premier mine engineering and design experts to ensure the long term health and quality of the Lake is not compromised.
What happens at the Ridge Road #4 shaft site?
The site will include a shaft house with shower /change areas for crews, a hoist house and a small shop. All salt processing and hauling remains at the main mine site at Portland Point.
How long will it take to construct the shaft and hoist house?
The shaft will be drilled from the bottom up and take about a year. The shaft and hoist house will take another 4 months to complete.
Robert C. LaFleur, President
Spectra Environmental Group, Inc.