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News Release

For Release:  April 21, 2009                                                   
Contact:  David Briery, 951.697.5220 Email: dbriery@ca.blm.gov

BLM Works With Partners to Seal Abandoned Mines

Two potentially deadly mine shafts in California’s Mojave Desert have been sealed as a result of a new Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public/private partnership called Fix A Shaft Today! (FAST!).  These shafts are among approximately 165,000 mine features on more than 47,000 abandoned mine sites in California, according to the California Department of Conservation Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Unit.

According to Sterling White, BLM California Desert District environmental protection specialist, before the mines could be permanently closed, they were surveyed to ensure they were not being used as bat or other wildlife habitat.  “Only then could work begin,” said White.  “For each shaft, BLM partnered with Mojave National Preserve (MNP), California Department of Conservation Mine Reclamation (CDCMR), 4Granite Inc, and PUF-SEAL. For example, 4 Granite Inc. installed 10 feet of environmentally friendly expanding foam, provided by PUF-Seal Inc, to permanently seal the openings.  After the foam set, each mine was covered with three feet of native soil.”
The mine shaft in MNP near the Nevada border is a 40-foot deep vertical shaft.  The shaft sits at the edge of an area used by mountain climbers, hunters and off roaders. Registered professional geologist for the MNP, Ted Weasma, identified the site as a FAST! site and managed the project.  The soil placement and site reclamation was provided by the AML Unit of the CDCMR.

The mine shaft on BLM land near Ludlow, Calif. is a 100-foot deep vertical shaft. This shaft is near an area popular with off-roaders, bird watchers, and rock collectors.  BLM’s Needles Field Office identified the site, as well as coordinated and managed the project.  The soil placement and site reclamation was provided by BLM’s Barstow field office.

BLM maintains a national inventory of abandoned mine sites or features that are located on public lands. Most of these sites are abandoned hardrock mines. As of Dec. 31, 2008, the inventory contained 18,976 sites and 55,934 features. Approximately 21 percent of the sites have either been remediated, have remediated actions planned or underway, or do not require further action.  The remaining 79 percent require further investigation and/or remediation. 

Please see http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/more/Abandoned_Mine_Lands.html for further information regarding AML and FAST!, or contact Sterling White, BLM Calif. Desert District, 951.697.5200.


California Desert District Office – 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553- (951) 697-5220

Last updated: 04-21-2009