Abandoned Mine Lands: Revitalization and Reuse
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As part of EPA's commitment to finding innovative and effective solutions to the potential threats abandoned mine lands pose to human health and the environment, significant attention is being focused on potential future uses of these lands, and the economic, environmental, and social impact that reuse can provide. EPA recognizes that supporting reuse may serve as a catalyst for expediting environmental risk reduction. EPA's Superfund Redevelopment Program page provides additional information.
Stakeholder Involvement and Mine Reuse
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Identification and Evaluation of Community Involvement Activities in Abandoned Mine Land Communities (PDF)(21 pp, 442 KB)
This report identifies community involvement challenges that are typical to AML sites and to provide examples of how these challenges have been successfully addressed.
Mine-Scarred Lands Initiative Tool Kit (PDF)(31 pp, 464 K)
This resource shares what the Federal Brownfields Partnership Mine-Scarred Lands (MSL) Initiative partners have learned to date working with six Demonstration Projects across the country.
Mine Site Cleanup for Brownfields Redevelopment: A Three-part Primer (PDF)(89 pp, 2.9 MB) US EPA, Brownfields and Land Revitalization Technology Support Center. EPA/542/R-05/030. November 2005.
Innovative Reuse at Mining Sites - Fact Sheets
Shining Light on a Bright Opportunity: Developing Solar Energy on Former Mine Lands (PDF)(27 pp, 3.2 MB). December 2011.
A Breath of Fresh Air for America’s Abandoned Mine Lands: Alternative Energy Provides a Second Wind (PDF)(30 pp, 2.2 MB). March 2012.
Carbon Sequestration: A Local Solution with Global Implications (PDF)(13 pp, 825 KB). March 2012.
Land Conservation and Former Mine Land Resources, Planning for the Future (PDF)(13 pp, 1.7 MB). July 2004.
Wetland Banking at Former Mine Lands: An Ecological Solution with Economic Benefits (PDF)(12 pp, 212 K). July 2004.
Mine Site Reuse Case Studies
Silver Bow Creek/Butte Area Superfund Site (PDF)(17 pp, 6.2 MB)
Libby Asbestos Site (PDF)(18 pp, 3.1 MB)
Chevron Questa Mine Superfund Site (PDF)(16 pp, 7.1 MB)
EPA has placed national priority on showcasing opportunities for the development of clean and renewable energy projects on contaminated lands. As part of this effort, EPA is working to leverage these opportunities into actual renewable energy projects for communities across the country.
EPA’s Abandoned Mine Lands Team (AMLT) has actively provided communities with technical support and resources to explore innovative reuse opportunities available at former mine lands. EPA works in partnership with EPA Regional offices, local communities and other mine site stakeholders to clarify EPA's interests at former mine lands and to address potential obstacles to innovative reuse of these sites. In addition the AMLT works in close coordination with EPA's RE-Powering America's Lands Initiative. EPA’s RE-Powering America's Lands Initiative identifies Brownfields, RCRA, Superfund and mining sites for their wind, solar and biomass development potential and provides technical resources for communities, developers, industry, local governments or other stakeholders interested in reusing these sites for renewable energy development.
The 2015 Fact Sheet: Renewable Energy on Mine Sites (PDF)(4 pp, 1.1 MB) highlights ongoing and planned renewable energy projects at mining sites.
Examples of Site Reuse Activities Involving Alternative Energy
Renewable energy projects are already in place at hardrock and coal mining sites. These energy projects are powering cleanup activities and generating electricity sold to local utilities.
- Molycorp, Inc. (Questa, NM): A 1-megawatt concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar facility sits on 20 acres of mine tailing at the Molycorp, Inc. site.
- Case Study (PDF) (16 pp, 6.8 MB)
- Summitville Mine (Rio Grande County, CO): A 32-kilowatt micro-hydroelectric power plant operates seasonally and supplies electricity to help power on site cleanup activities.
Renewable Energy Feasibility Assessments at Mine Sites
Through direct technical and analytic support, the EPA AMLT is working with Regional offices to help site stakeholders evaluate mining sites for their renewable energy development potential. The following reports highlight sites where these activities have taken place with AMLT support:
- Iron King Mine – Humboldt Smelter (PDF) (54 pp, 18.6 MB), Dewey-Humboldt, AZ
- ASARCO Mission Mine (PDF) (18 pp, 1.1 MB), Sahuarita, AZ
In addition, the AMLT has provided support to EPA’s Re-Power Initiative, which has awarded grants for the National Renewable Energy Lab to evaluate the feasibility of developing renewable energy production on Superfund, Brownfields, and former landfill or mining sites.
Additional Renewable Energy Resources
Re-Powering America’s Land: This initiative identifies the renewable energy potential of these sites and provides other useful resources for communities, developers, industry, state and local governments or anyone interested in reusing these sites for renewable energy development.
Shining Light on a Bright Opportunity: Developing Solar Energy on Former Mine Lands (PDF) (27 pp, 3.2 MB): A report on developing solar energy at former mining sites, focusing on solar energy’s potential environmental, economic, and social impacts, case studies and next steps to help get projects in place.
A Breath of Fresh Air for America’s Abandoned Mine Lands: Alternative Energy Provides a Second Wind (PDF)(30 pp, 2.2 MB): A report covering the development of wind energy at former mining sites, including case studies on wind farms that have been developed on former hardrock and coal mines.