Note: The following notice is being sent to holders of active mining claims as of September 2010.
An Abandoned Mine Hazard(s) may be Located on a Mining Claim(s) for which you are the Claimant of Record
Questions and Answers About Abandoned Mine Hazards on Mining Claims (click here)
Due to growing concerns about the number of abandoned mine safety hazard-related accidents, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is increasing its efforts to mitigate abandoned mine hazards on public lands. The BLM’s authority to address abandoned mine hazards is mandated by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) Section 302(b) which requires tha
t the BLM “by regulation or otherwise, take any action necessary to prevent unnecessary or undue degradation of the [public] lands” (43 U.S.C. § 1732(b)). Federal regulations governing mining on public lands at 43 CFR Subpart 3809 implement the statutory mandate. The BLM has ongoing efforts to close or mitigate abandoned mine hazards on public lands, including lands with active mining claims.
To protect public safety and the environment on public lands, the BLM conducted a geospatial analysis using our abandoned mine site database to determine which mining claims on public lands may contain an abandoned mine hazard. It has been determined that there may be an abandoned mine hazard(s) on mining claim(s) for which you are a recorded claimant. The enclosed document entitled “Mining Claims Identified to Contain Potential Abandoned Mine Hazards” lists these mining claims.
If the BLM determines that an abandoned mine working/hazard/feature on your mining claim poses an imminent threat to public health and the environment, BLM field personnel will make a reasonable effort to inform you of the proposed closure or mitigation of the hazard. Following such notice, the BLM will proceed unless you object and comply with the Surface Management Regulations.
If you object to the BLM’s proposed closure or mitigation of the abandoned mine feature, you will become responsible for maintaining that mine opening or other hazard in a safe and secure condition. You must immediately initiate efforts to temporarily secure the site and comply with the Federal surface management regulations at 43 CFR Subpart 3809 and accept financial responsibility for site maintenance, protection of public health and the environment, and final site reclamation.
Under Federal regulations, mining claimants and operators are required by surface management regulations to submit a notice or plan of operations when proposed mining activities exceed “casual use.” The maintenance of an abandoned mine hazard for the purpose of preserving access for future mining or exploration activities exceeds casual use and requires compliance with 43 CFR Subpart 3809. If your current activities include access or “use” of an abandoned mine feature that has not already been authorized by the BLM, you are required to contact your local field office to determine if authorization is required. If access to such a feature is essential to your operation to either preserve mineralization or maintain access for any current or planned mining activity, even if the current or planned activity by itself might otherwise be characterized as “casual use,” your continuation of the abandoned mine feature is not casual use. Accordingly, you will be required to submit a notice or plan of operation and submit a suitable financial guarantee.
Abandoned mine hazards on your active mining claim that are not required by your mining or exploration activities may warrant permanent closure. Last year the BLM and its partners initiated the FAST!
campaign, (Fix A Shaft Today!). The FAST!
campaign partners with mine claimants, landowners, mining industry, recreational user groups, and volunteers to work together to mitigate or remediate these unsafe mine features. If you are willing and able to mitigate or secure the hazard, you are encouraged to participate in the BLM’s FAST!
campaign. Please contact your local field office for further information. To find the contact information for your local office, you may visit www.blm.gov.
Please remember that abandoned mine features are potentially hazardous and may be fatal. There is no requirement by this notice to enter in an abandoned mine working/hazard/feature. Please use extreme caution whenever you are near an abandoned mine feature. In all circumstances, you are reminded to “stay out and stay alive!”