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Caselton Nevada Tailings Abandoned Mine Lands
Polymer Surface Seal Keeps Mine Tailings from Becoming Airborne

Project: Reapply a polymer surface seal to tailings in Caselton Wash, which is located about three miles southwest of Pioche in Lincoln County. The sealant helps prevent highly acidic lead, manganese, silver and other metal-processing tailings from becoming airborne.

ARRA Funding Level: $438,000


February 2, 2011: $431,328 obligated, $402,655 spent. The project’s second phase completed an updated engineering plan for tailings remediation and a reactivated community action plan.

April 24, 2010: Contractors finished reapplying a surface sealant to three impoundments at the abandoned mine site.

Contracts: The project was funded through a $400,000 interagency agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which awarded the contract to MaxFour LLC of Englewood, Colorado.

Completion date: May 1, 2010

Benefits and Needs: Thousands of historic abandoned mines are scattered throughout Nevada. These abandoned mines can be hard to see for off-highway vehicle recreations and can be an attractive, dangerous nuisance for hikers and other outdoor recreationists.

Background: The tailings are a series of abandoned impoundments, or ponds, that contain nearly three million cubic yards of highly acidic lead, manganese, silver and other metal-processing tailings, located on about 150 acres of public lands in Caselton Wash. The wash is a tributary to the Meadow Valley Wash, and which flow to the Colorado River and Lake Mead.

Abandoned mines are among the most recognizable and attractive national icons of the western landscape and many of them are also habitat for bats and other valued wildlife. Nevada contains thousands of abandoned mines from the 1800s and early 1900s when miners simply walked away. The BLM is working with the state of Nevada to locate these sites, and to prioritize the remediation and securing of these sites. Mining companies today are required to reclaim mine sites when activities are completed. Location and remediation of abandoned mines on public lands is a national priority for both the Department of the Interior and the BLM.

Contractors reapply a surface sealant to dry holding ponds at the abandoned Caselton mine site.     Extremely acidic water on Caselton Tailings.
Contractors reapply a surface sealant to dry           Extremely acidic water on Caselton Tailings: This water 
holding ponds at the abandoned Caselton mine     was so acidic from tailings contamination that it literally
site. The sealant will help prevent highly acidic       dissolved shoes.
lead, manganese, silver and other
metal-processing tailings from becoming