The Abandoned Mine Lands Unit (AMLU) was created in 1997 to prepare a report to the governor and legislature on the "magnitude and scope" of the abandoned mine lands issue in California. This report was completed in June 2000 and is available electronically on this website (please click here).
California Abandoned Mine Lands Program Fact Sheets (PDF)
On August 7, 2012, the AMLU announced the release of the invitation for bid (IFB) entitled "OMR2012-002 Statewide Mine Closure Services". The deadline for submitting a bid package was 9/4/2012 at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. A Notice of Intent to Award has been posted. All questions relating to this IFB must be directed in writing or via email to Debbie DuVall at Debbie.DuVall@conservation.ca.gov (916) 322-2229. Following review, written responses to questions about the IFB or bid process will be posted on this website and forwarded via email to all bidders. For a copy of the IFB click here.
What's happening in Abandoned Mine Lands?
Approximately 165,000 mine features* on more than 47,000 abandoned mine sites exist statewide.
More than 39,400 abandoned mines (84 percent of 47,000 sites) present physical safety hazards, and approximately 5,200 (11 percent) present environmental hazards.
More than 62,000 abandoned mine features (38 percent of 165,000 features) are hazardous openings.
Federal lands contain approximately 67 percent of the abandoned mines in the State (primarily on Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and U.S. Forest Service property). Approximately 31 percent are on private lands, and about 2 percent are on State or local lands.
* A feature is a single human-made object or disturbance associated with mining, such as a shaft or adit (vertical or horizontal opening), tailings, machinery and facilities, etc. A mine can be comprised of one or more features.
For more information click here. For a statewide map showing California abandoned mines, including remediated, inventoried and U.S. Geological Survey mapped mine feature locations, please click here.
We have a toll free number, 877-OLD-MINE, that the public may call to report abandoned mines. While we try to perform field visits to reported sites as soon as possible, resource constraints and other obligations limit the availability of staff.
Additional "Stay Out, Stay Alive" information is available on the website of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).
Since 1997, the AMLU has conducted field inventories of more than 28,000 mine features on more than 2,800 abandoned mine sites on public and private lands in California. This field inventory program is designed to accurately locate abandoned mines and to provide a preliminary assessment of any health and safety hazards observed. AMLU Remediations
Since 2002, the AMLU has helped to remediate more than 630 hazardous abandoned mine features, in partnership with more than two dozen local, state and federal partners. Most AMLU projects involve the remediation of physical hazards. Techniques to remediate hazardous mine openings and associated debris include: wire fencing; backfills; polyurethane foam (PUF) closures; bat-compatible gates, cupolas, and culvert gates; other closures, including blasting shut, fitting with concrete plugs or steel caps, etc.; demolition of unstable structures; and removal of hazardous debris and trash. All work is conducted in accordance with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) or National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental reviews performed by the land-owning agencies.
To see some examples of AMLU Remediations, please click here.
For a list of remediation partners, click here.
The Department of Conservation convenes the California Abandoned Mine Lands Forum to provide a venue for discussion and coordination on water quality, safety and environmental hazard issues that agencies and other groups face with their abandoned mine land remediation projects in California. For schedules, agendas, minutes, and charter, click here.
National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs | California Geological Survey | State Mining & Geology Board
Department of Toxic Substances Control | California State Lands Commission
Bureau of Land Management | Mine Safety & Health Administration
Office of Surface Mining | | U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Forest Service | U.S. Geological Survey