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Release Date: 04/13/12
Contacts: Denise Adamic, BLM Front Range District (719)269-8553    

BLM to conduct sampling activities at Bassick Mine site

WESTCLIFFE, Colo. – Beginning Monday, April 23, the Bureau of Land Management’s Royal Gorge Field Office will be taking soil samples at the Bassick Mine and Querida tailings sites. The area is 8.5 miles east of Westcliffe, adjacent to Custer County Road 341.  A second sampling event will be conducted the week of May 14. 

Staff from the BLM, Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety, and the Environmental Protection Agency will be on site to sample the mine’s tailings and drill borehole samples. The data gathered from these samples will be used to develop an Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis plan. This plan will become the framework for clean-up efforts at the site.

The Bassick Mine was discovered in 1877, and was primarily mined for silver with lesser productions of gold, zinc, and lead. Mining occurred there through the early 1900s when mine operators began reprocessing the tailings with cyanide. The mine was abandoned in the 1950s. A nine-acre tailings pile, abandoned mine shaft and waste rock piles are all that remain of the operation.

The mine site is a mix of private and federal ownerships. As a result, the BLM, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety are collaboratively working on a clean-up plan. The BLM conducted similar surveying and sampling at the mine site in 2009.

The Bassick Mine was the largest mine in the Hardscrabble Mining District. The small community known as Querida developed near the mine and was home to about 1,500 people when then mine was operational.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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Last updated: 04-13-2012