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Xanadu Mill Site - Abandoned Mine Lands Project

Project Description:

The Xanadu Mercury Mill Site represents a small commercial operation.  It is located within the riparian zone, and produced very little mercury tailings. However, the site was very heavily used by the visiting public for camping and target shooting.  The retort area was contaminated with mercury tailings.

The retorting operation is best described as follows: The bottom opening is where a fire is used either using wood, natural gas, propane or some other fuel to heat the three large diameter, horizontal iron pipes (ovens).  Crushed cinnabar ore is placed in the ovens and heated driving off the mercury as vapor.  The vapor is then cooled by condenser coils causing the mercury to condense into a liquid often referred to as "Quick Silver".  The two vertical pipes vented the remaining roasting gasses into the atmosphere after the mercury was condensed.  As a result, depending on the design and operation of the retort, some mercury was vented to the atmosphere and settled on the adjoining lands.


  • Site operations focused on the removal and on_site encapsulation of the milling retort oven debris, contaminated soils and building remnants.

Risks:  Water quality, Hg contamination

Location:  N41 , W120 21 42

Field Office:  Hollister

Congressional District:  17

Abandoned Mine Lands
   Project Sites

Xanadu before
Xanadu mill site before restoration

Xanadu after
Xanadu mill site after restoration