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Central California District
Release Date: 07/11/11
Contacts: David Christy , 916-941-3146  
News Release No. CA-CC-11-73

BLM Announces Open House on Arsenic Investigation Plans at Longfellow Mill

The Bureau of Land Management will hold an open house for the residents of Big Oak Flat, Groveland and surrounding communities on Thursday, July 28, to discuss the updated status of the abandoned mine investigation project on public lands at the Longfellow Mill at Big Oak Flat in Tuolumne County.

The open house, which will be part of a series of BLM meetings to keep residents informed of the investigation project at the Longfellow Mill, will be held at the Groveland Community Hall, 18720 Main St. (Highway 120), from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

"Public health and safety is our top priority, so we want the local community to be fully aware of our plans and actions and address any comments or questions the residents may have,” said William Haigh, BLM Mother Lode Field Office manager. "We are pleased with the success of our community-based process to date to resolve the historic and modern-day problem of abandoned mines."

Testing around the Longfellow Mill site by BLM in late May 2010 indicated unusually high arsenic, mercury, lead, and zinc levels in the tailings piles and soils on the site.  Additional investigations in May and June 2011 confirmed elevated levels of contamination on the site.

 The Longfellow Stamp Mill was built in 1873 and was family operated until the 1890s.  Records show that prior to 1899, the Longfellow mine and mill site had yield 24,200 ounces of gold, which today would be worth approximately $24,200,000.  Mining ceased at the site around 1948 and the presence of the naturally occurring arsenic associated with mining activity has long been known. 

For more information, contact Peter Graves, BLM environmental protection specialist, at (916) 941-3141 -


Central California District   2800 Cottage Way      Sacramento, CA 95825  

Last updated: 07-22-2011