The Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program (AMRP) has five upcoming abandoned mine closure projects scheduled to begin in late summer/early fall of 2020. 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 Abandoned mines are hazardous because they are no longer maintained, lack ventilation and may collapse. All of the work is performed with approval from landowners and in coordination with land management agencies. Below is a summary of several of these projects.
The Willard Peak Project proposes to safeguard approximately 50 abandoned hardrock mine openings on the west face of the Wellsville and Wasatch mountain ranges in Box Elder, Weber and Davis counties. All the openings are located on private land and lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service. The project will secure abandoned mine openings using earthen backfills, steel grates, concrete block walls, and polyurethane foam plugs.
The Buckmaster-OIG Project is located in Emery County, north of I-70 and east of the East Reef of the San Rafael Swell in Buckmaster Draw. The project will close approximately 40 abandoned uranium mine openings within a portion of the San Rafael River mining district. All the mines in the project are located on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and have been identified as high priority hazards to public safety by a directive from the U.S. Office of Inspector General (OIG). A second phase is planned to address the remaining abandoned mines in the district. Closure methods include earthen backfills, steel grates, and concrete block walls.
The White Canyon and Deer Flat Project proposes to safeguard 83 abandoned uranium mine openings and 30 vent holes in San Juan County. All the openings are located on public lands administered by the BLM and State Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA). Access to the mines will be on existing routes designated in the BLM Monticello Travel Management Plan, however, some work areas will require temporary use of old mine roads, which are not designated routes. Closure methods include earthen backfills, steel grates, polyurethane foam plugs, and concrete block walls.
For additional information on these or other AMRP projects, visit https://www.ogm.utah.gov/amr/index.php.