Superfund Site Profile
Blackbird Mine is an inactive mine located 25 miles west of the town of Salmon in the Salmon-Challis National Forest in east central Idaho (Lemhi County). Cobalt, silver and copper ore were extracted from underground and open pit mining operations. Contaminated soil, sediments and tailings were released from the Blackbird Mine site during high water flows from thunderstorms and snowmelt. The main environmental concerns at the mine are cobalt, copper and arsenic released into Blackbird Creek, the South Fork of the Big Deer Creek, Big Deer Creek, and Panther Creek.
Since the late 1800s, several companies have mined cobalt and copper on the site both underground mining using mine tunnels and open-pit surface mining. Acid rock drainage and leachate from the mining tunnels, waste piles and tailings contaminated soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater with heavy metals such as copper, cobalt and arsenic.
Since 1995, cleanup actions have collected contaminated runoff water in the mine area and treated it for copper and cobalt. These cleanup actions have also stabilized waste-rock piles at the mine. Post-construction monitoring of these cleanup activities is ongoing.