Albemarle Kings Mountain Commences Pit Dewatering

April 8, 2024

The State of North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) has issued Albemarle a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, allowing Albemarle to begin treating and discharging water that has accumulated in the existing mine pit at the Kings Mountain site. The pit has accumulated primarily rainwater over the last several decades since prior mining operations ceased in the 1990s. To continue to conduct additional prefeasibility studies and ultimately resume mining operations, the accumulated water must be removed.

Treating the pit’s water requires a multi-step process to ensure the discharged water meets regulatory standards. To begin the process, water is conveyed by electrical pumps from the pit to a water treatment plant where the water is filtered to remove sediments and treated to remove any potential contaminants. Lastly, the water is treated by ultrafiltration to ensure clarity and transferred to a finished water tank before being pumped into Kings Creek.

Water quality will be continuously monitored with in-process sensors for pH, clarity, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. There will also be weekly to quarterly sampling along various points of the dewatering system from the treatment plant to Kings Creek.

The rate of dewatering and quality of water released will meet regulatory standards to preserve the integrity of Kings Creek and the river basin.

Albemarle expects it will take up to 18 months to safely dewater the 1.3 billion gallons of water.

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