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Moab, UT

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    Abandoned mine reclamation project could begin this fall

    BLM hopes to protect 83 abandoned mine openings, 30 vent holes in San Juan County

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    The Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program, in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management proposes to safeguard 83 abandoned mine openings and 30 vent holes in the White Canyon and Deer Flat areas in San Juan County.

    Abandoned mine
    This is one of thousands of abandoned mine openings in Utah. Closures are designed to protect features of historic significance and animal habitat, while protecting the public from injuries or death. Courtesy photo


    The BLM is currently reviewing the project and conducting an environmental review and will issue a decision once the analysis has been completed. Pending BLM approval, construction is scheduled for Sept. 15 – Nov. 30, according to a statement from the division
    The closure methods include masonry walls, steel grates, rebar barricade and earthen backfill. All proposed closures will be performed primarily using hand tools, with exception of the backfills; backfill closures will be accomplished using either hand tools or a track hoe.
    Closures are designed to protect features of historic significance and animal habitat, while protecting the public from injuries or death. Abandoned mines are hazardous because they are no longer maintained, lack ventilation and may collapse.
    The openings are all located on public lands administered by the BLM or State Institutional Trust Lands Administration. Access to the mines will be on existing routes designated in the Monticello Travel Management Plan. However, some work areas will require temporary use of old mine roads, which are not designated routes. All-terrain vehicles will be used to transport workers and materials on non-designated routes.
    Last fall, the AMRP, in partnership with the BLM, closed and safeguarded 62 hazardous mine openings and removed 12 transformers containing man-made chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls in the Red and Fry Canyon area. A subsidence feature along Radium King Road was plugged with polyurethane foam and a new culvert was installed by the San Juan County Road Department.
    For additional information or to request a public meeting, contact AMRP Project Manager Susan White at susanwhite@utah.gov.

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