National Enforcement Initiative: Reducing Pollution from Mineral Processing Operations

Mineral processing from mines results in products (like gold) and mine waste. Mine waste can be toxic.

Fast Fact

Enforcement at gold mines resulted in reducing 180 million pounds of mercury hazardous waste.


Mining and mineral processing facilities generate more toxic and hazardous waste than any other industrial sector, costing billions of dollars to address the public health and environmental threats to communities. EPA has, through this NEI, reduced the risk of mining waste contamination of drinking water, rivers, and streams, and work to cleanup mining sites across the nation.


This initiative will return to the base enforcement program level for hazardous waste beginning in fiscal year 2017. Recent settlements that address some high risk mineral processing facilities have helped provide examples for how to resolve future cases at other high risk facilities in this sector.


Progress on Reducing Pollution

The following maps and charts show EPA's progress in inspecting and addressing high risk mineral processing facilities.

Status of mineral processing facilities (Map shows addressed and unaddressed facilities)