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Abandoned Mine Lands

Abandoned Mine Lands

The Bureau of Land Management’s Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) program enhances public safety and improves water quality by reducing or eliminating the effects of past hardrock mining in the western United States. 

BLM maintains an inventory of known abandoned mine lands on public lands. Most of the sites are abandoned hardrock mines. As of April 18, 2014, the inventory contained nearly 46,000 sites and 85,000 features. Approximately 23% of the sites have either been remediated, have reclamation actions planned or underway, or do not require further action.  The remaining 80% require further investigation and/or remediation. The BLM and its partners are working on sharing and displaying AML spatial data within a National Mine Land Inventory.  

BLM and its “Cooperative Conservation” partners mitigate hazards to protect public health and safety, and restore watersheds for resources, recreation, fish, and wildlife. The AML program helps restore the environment and improve safety for visitors and users of public lands.

Within the BLM, the AML program coordinates projects with the BLM's Hazardous Materials Management program.  Many AML sites have hazardous material features that need to be remediated.


Abandoned Mine Lands in the News

Check out Abandonedmines.gov. It is an AML web portal dedicated to raising awareness about abandoned mine lands and a partnership that spans federal, state and local efforts. 

July 2013 - The AML program released the "Feasibility Study for AML Inventory Validation and Physical Safety Closures" which describes the method and costs for validating and addressing unremediated AML physical safety features in the inventory.

May 2013 - The AML program released the "Abandoned Mine Lands: "A New Legacy" publication which describes the program's successes between fiscal years 2009-2011. 

January 2012 - BLM teams up with Bat Conservation International for the Abandoned Mine Closure Website.  A great resource for literature and considerations for bats when closing mine features. 

August 19, 2011 - BLM targets Davis stamp mill for restoration (California).

May 2011 - Review the progress of ARRA AML projects in Nevada here.

August 19, 2010 - BLM releases an interim strategy on white-nose syndrome.  More information available at BLM's white-nose syndrome webpage here.

July 20, 2010 - Arizona - Great West Mine Secured (ARRA). BLM ARRA Website.

June 16, 2010 - California - Remote Lost Arch Historic Mining Camp benefits from ARRA funding. BLM ARRA Website.

March 3, 2010 - Arizona - Wickenburg Abandoned Mine Shafts Are Secured.  BLM ARRA Website.

February 17, 2009 - The BLM's AML program receives $29,750,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funding.  Click here for more information.

More AML News ...