The Holden Mine remediation project, mandated under federal law and overseen by the U.S. Forest Service, is a half-billion dollar effort addressing pollutants left from Holden’s mining era, 1937-57. With completion of major mine remediation construction in late 2016, Holden Village stands on the threshold of a new beginning, refreshed environmentally and spiritually.
Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest mining groups, is managing and paying for the cleanup and ongoing operation of a new water treatment plant. More than 120 acres, primarily across Railroad Creek to the south of Holden Village, were impacted. Massive tailings piles were regraded and will be planted with trees, the old mill structure — long a landmark — was demolished, and Railroad Creek was moved to accommodate a massive, underground barrier wall. With heavy construction beginning in 2013 and lasting two years longer than originally anticipated, the remediation era has been both a challenge and blessing for Holden Village. The Village was not able to follow its traditional rhythms of welcoming guests. At the same time, an absence of guests allowed Holden to pursue its own heavy construction, upgrading infrastructure and facilities that also date back to the mining era. Power lines were buried, roofs replaced, the hydroelectric system upgraded, a new footbridge replaces the Railroad Creek span that was on its last legs, and more areas will be ADA accessible.
Throughout the challenges and disruption, the Village maintained its core values, including daily worship, study, hospitality and community. The post-remediation era is one of promise. We look forward to the return of guests who have long been part of the Village’s legacy, and we’re assured that the Village’s ministry will continue for generations of seekers to come.
Here are updates from the U.S. Forest Service.