Abandoned Mine Lands

Abandoned Mine Lands noun-mine-4285386-FFFFFF

Abandoned mine land (AML) sites are present throughout the United States, with tens of thousands of such sites in the west. While these sites can be fun and interesting to visit/explore, many pose hazards and potential risks to both human health and the environment. State and federal agencies are actively evaluating and addressing these hazards, and experience and thoughtful planning are necessary for this work. For years, the focus has been on federal land, but Good Samaritan legislation is being considered that could remove certain roadblocks that have limited work on private land and involvement of industry.

Broadbent is actively working on AML projects and over the past decade we have developed a streamlined approach for this work. Our database solutions are efficient and cost effective, and we are experienced with various remediation techniques, including mine pool mitigation and passive treatment. With safety at the forefront, our protocol includes mitigation measures for risks associated with site access and chemical and physical hazards commonly present at these remote, mountainous locations. Broadbent’s experience also includes work on high-profile sites such as Virginia City Mill Sites, Eureka Smelter Site Removal Action, and the Yerington Anaconda Copper Mine Site in Nevada, as well as numerous other sites across the western United States.

A differentiator of the Broadbent team is our in-house archaeology expertise in historical mining. This experience provides an important understanding of mining means and methods and potential contaminants associated with processing activities (e.g., mercury or cyanide). This ability brings focus, efficiency, and value to AML projects.

Our overall AML experience includes:

  • Conceptual site model (CSM) development
  • Cultural Resource Management (CRM)
  • Engineering evaluation/cost analysis (EE/CA)
  • Underground Mine pool mitigation
  • Passive treatment
  • Preliminary assessment/site inspection (PA/SI)
  • Remedial action design and implementation

Abandoned Mine Land Assessment and Remediation Resources

Nevada Division of Environmental Protection – Abandoned Mine Lands Branch
Nevada Division of Minerals – Abandoned Mine Lands Program
Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology – Mining Districts Files
Bureau of Land Management – Abandoned Mine Lands
United States Forest Service – Abandoned Mine Lands
Trout Unlimited – Abandoned Mine Lands

Example Projects


Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) AML Branch PA/SI

Working closely with the NDEP AML Branch, Broadbent has completed over 100 AML site assessments since 2016. Through these assessments, we have developed innovative and efficient approaches utilizing GIS and database solutions.

Broadbent staff performing PA/SI at abandoned mine site in Nevada.

Birthday Mine Non-Time Critical Removal Action, Humboldt County, Nevada

Working for the NDEP AML Branch, Broadbent performed a CERCLA Removal Action at the Birthday Mine, a legacy gold mine in Humboldt County, Nevada. The project goal was to characterize and address arsenic impacted mine drainage emanating from a mine pool behind an adit plug. Broadbent characterized and designed a safe method for draining the mine pool and treating the water via an onsite passive treatment system. Use of passive methodology achieved project goals while ensuring minimal O&M costs.

Mine pool well drilling, adit drain, and passive arsenic treatment system installation, Birthday Mine, NV.

Eureka Smelter Site Removal Action, Eureka, Nevada

Eureka, Nevada is considered the “birthplace” of silver-lead smelting in America, historically operating up to 10 milling and smelter operations from approximately 1870 through 1940. It is also considered one of the largest U.S. EPA Region 9 CERCLA removal action sites to date. Broadbent was part of the team that addressed overall mining impacts by providing site-wide technical and engineering project management and technical field support services to the EPA. Specific services included: site assessment sampling and analysis at over 300 properties, preparation of an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA), community involvement and reporting, preparation of removal action work plans, design of a 30,000 cubic yard waste repository, and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) cultural resource surveys, monitoring, and reporting. Over 5,000 site assessment samples were collected, and over 150 properties were remediated to reduce human-health and environment threats from lead and arsenic contamination. Local community, county, and state feedback was positive, and the project was completed in 2019.

Hillside cap, slag pile removal, and waste repository for Eureka, NV smelter removal and mitigation.

Submit a question to a Broadbent AML Manager

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