Abandoned Mine Lands
Abandoned mine lands (AMLs) are those lands, waters and surrounding watersheds where extraction, beneficiation or processing of ores and minerals has occurred. AMLs can pose serious threats to human health and the environment. The EPA conducts and supervises investigation and cleanup actions at a variety of mine sites. The Agency has a range of resources related to the environmental risks and challenges present in investingating and cleaning up AMLs. The EPA also pursues opportunities to explore innovative reuse opportunities at mine sites. More Information. . .
Abandoned Mine Lands Spotlight
Renewable Energy: The EPA has placed a national priority on showcasing opportunities for the development of renewable energy projects on contaminated lands, including renewable energy development on mining and mineral processing sites.
Good Samaritan Initiative: An Agency-wide effort to facilitate the cleanup of areas affected by runoff from orphan mine sites. It encourages cleanups by non-liable parties ("Good Samaritans") willing to voluntarily clean up these sites. More information. . .
Mining Site Case Studies: The assessment, cleanup and reuse of mining and mineral processing sites present unique challenges and opportunities. The EPA has developed a series of case studies that share key lessons learned with parties interested in learning more about innovative approaches and effective tools used at specific sites.
Mine Site News
- Building on Mining History: Cleanup, Reuse and Community Resilience at the Silver Bow Creek/Butte Area Superfund Site (PDF) (17 pp, 5.8MB)
A new case study from the EPA Abandoned Minelands Team that details key partnerships and collaborative tools that have led to successful remediation and reuse of large parts of Butte and Walkerville Montana.
- Out of the Dust: Recreational Reuse After Vermiculite Mining at the Libby Asbestos Site (PDF) (18 pp, 2.8MB)
A new case study from the EPA Abandoned Minelands Team that explores the partnerships and tools that have led to the successful cleanup and reuse of the former Export Plant area at the Libby Asbestos Superfund site.
- In April 2014, EPA secured a settlement with Anadarko and Kerr McGee to help clean up approximately 50 uranium mines that were operated by Kerr McGee on the Navajo reservation. See additional information on EPA's cleanup efforts at abandoned uranium mines on Navajo Nation lands.
- In March 2014, EPA entered into an agreement with United Park City Mines to assess, clean and restore more than 2,700 acres that are contaminated with waste from historic mining activities within the Richardson Flat Tailings Superfund site near Park City, Utah.
- EPA recently finalized an Optimization Study (PDF) (59pp, 3.6MB, About PDF) for the French Gulch/Wellington-Oro Mine Site near Breckenridge, Colorado. An on-site water treatment plant (WTP) continuously collects and treats acid rock drainage water from the site. The study evaluated WTP operational effectiveness and efficiency and provided recommendations to increase plant effectiveness, cost control and technical improvements.
Mine Site Tools and Resources
- Overview of U.S. EPA’s Technical Outreach and Support Activities on Sustainable Mining Applications (PDF) (25pp, 1MB, About PDF). Highlights of alternative and innovative technologies for remediating abandoned mine sites.
- Reference Guide to Treatment Technologies for Mining-Influenced Water (PDF) (94pp, 3.5MB, About PDF) An EPA report that highlights select mining-influenced water (MIW) treatment technologies used or piloted as part of remediation efforts at mine sites.
- Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC). The ITRC is a public-private coalition working to reduce barriers to the use of innovative environmental technologies that maximize cleanup efficacy. The ITRC has developed technical and regulatory guidance to aid in technology selection to remediate mining sites.
- Clu-In Webinars on Mining Sites. Archives of webinars on technology-related resources and training opportunities associated with characterization, cleanup, and redevelopment of abandoned mine sites.