Holden Mine Site Cleanup

Holden Mine is an inactive underground mine located along Railroad Creek about 50 miles north of the town of Chelan and 10 miles west of Lake Chelan.

Aerial View of Holden Mine AreaHISTORY: Between 1938 and 1957, the Howe Sound Mining Company mined copper, zinc, gold and silver from the Holden Mine.  300,000 cubic yards of waste rock and about 8.5 million tons of mine tailings covering about 90 acres were left at the site. Since mining operations ceased, the mine partially filled with water.  This water becomes contaminated as acid mine drainage that drains into Railroad Creek at concentrations toxic to aquatic life.

The USDA Forest Service, in cooperation with the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington State Department of Ecology are providing cleanup oversight under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and state’s Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) . 

Rio Tinto, a global mining company,  is managing the cleanup on behalf of Intalco and is paying for the entire cleanup.  Rio Tinto never owned or operated the Holden Mine; but, through a series of company acquisitions and legal transactions Rio Tinto has an arrangement to manage this cleanup.

Holden Mine Tailings PileTODAY: The major components of the Holden Mine cleanup effort will take place over the next several years. Phase One of implementation invovles  heavy construction  during the 2013-15 summer seasons. 

Cleanup work can only occur in the snow free season, generally May through October.



Construction Updates:


May 2016 Construction Update

April 2016 Construction Update

March 2016 Construction Update

January & February 2016 Construction Update


2015 Construction Update


November 2014 Construction Update

September 2014 Construction Update [pdf: 1.6mb]

August 2014 Construction Update

June 2014 Construction Update


October 22nd 2013 Construction Update

September 18th 2013 Construction Update

August 19th 2013 Construction Update

July 18th 2013 Construction Update

June 10th 2013 Construction Update

May 2013 Construction Update

April 2013 Construction Update


For more information about the Holden Mine Remediation Project contact Public Information Officer Carly Reed at 509-670-5568


For more information about potential employment opprotunities please contact Magnus Pacific Human Resources,

Robin Jeremiah at (916)233-1137

See Quick Links at right for more information and photos

For information about Holden Village operations visit: www.holdenvillage.org

Rio Tinto's Holden Mine Cleanup website: www.holdenminecleanup.com