FAQ: Who Is Responsible For Abandoned Mine Drainage Cleanup?

What can states do to reclaim abandoned mines?

Coal mine sites abandoned before 1977 may be reclaimed under the provisions of Title IV of SMCRA. Taxes on currently mined coal are redistributed to states and Indian tribes for the reclamation of abandoned coal mines and associated waters.

Why do abandoned mines post a problem?

Why cleaning up abandoned coal mines is so important — and difficult. With coal production at its lowest level in 30 years, abandoned mines around the country are causing major environmental problems. They can catch fire, and debris from them can contaminate the water supply.

What does reclaiming abandoned land mines mean?

Mine reclamation is the process of restoring land that has been mined to a natural or economically usable state. In the United States, mine reclamation is a regular part of modern mining practices. Modern mine reclamation reduces the environmental effects of mining.

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What happens to coal mines when they are abandoned?

Across the US, two out of every three acres of reclaimed coal mines have been turned into some form of grassland, which regulators say is often disused. Only 18% was converted into farming, housing, industry or recreation, while 16% was left in a wilder state as forest or undeveloped land.

How much does it cost to reclaim land after mining 2020?

According to OSMRE, the states and tribes have estimated total unfunded costs for the reclamation of eligible sites of approximately $10.7 billion to date.

What is the Abandoned Mine Lands Program?

The BLM’s Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) program enhances public safety and improves water, soil, and air quality by reducing or eliminating the effects of past hardrock (such as gold, silver, lead, and uranium) mining in the Western United States.

What are the environmental issues associated with an abandoned mine?

Mines blight landscapes, destroy arable and cultivable land, and, if they collapse, cause sinkholes. They contaminate the surrounding soil, water tables and rivers with heavy metals and other toxic products such as mercury, arsenic, fluorine, sulfuric acid and selenium.

What state has the most abandoned mines?

Many experts believe Arizona has among the most abandoned mines in the country. The mine inspector’s office has repeatedly requested more funding to help locate and secure these mines, but the Legislature has not granted a significant budget increase for its abandoned – mines program in a decade.

Why are abandoned mines bad for the environment?

Mining can pollute air and drinking water, harm wildlife and habitat, and permanently scar natural landscapes. Modern mines as well as abandoned mines are responsible for significant environmental damage throughout the West.

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What is the process of mine reclamation?

​ Reclamation is the combined process by which adverse environmental effects of surface mining are minimized and mined lands are returned to a beneficial end use. Some components of reclamation include practices that control erosion and sedimentation, stablize slopes, and avoid and repair impacts to wildlife habitat.

What happens to a mine when it is no longer productive?

The mine closure process Once production on a mine stops, a small labour force remains behind to shut down and decommission the site. This involves removing completely the machinery that can be, or needs to be, removed. Often this is taken to another site or sold.

How do I reclaim land after mining?

Reclamation includes the following steps: contouring of land; placement of topsoil or an approved substitute on the graded area; reseeding with native vegetation, crops and/or trees; and years of careful monitoring to assure success.

How many people died in abandoned mines?

Every year, many people are killed or hurt at abandoned mine sites. In 2000–2013 alone, 381 people were killed; 152 people suffered broken bones and other injuries. Across the country, abandoned mines exist in every state. Even a mine that was “safe” last year could be deadly today due to deteriorating conditions.

How many abandoned coal mines are there?

There are nearly 5,200 coal -related abandoned mine sites that have yet to be fully reclaimed, amounting to an estimated $3.0 billion worth of health and safety problems and more than $2.0 billion of general welfare, environmental and non- coal problems.

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Do abandoned mines still have gold?

Today, only a handful of mines produce gold in California — a $13 million industry last year. But many of those abandoned mines still exist.

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