Earthworks

Factoid #18: Warning: Mines May Be Hazardous To Your Health

Factoid #18: Warning: Mines May Be Hazardous To Your Health
1872 Mining Law Fact #18

Published: June 27, 2003

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Old mine sites-like those where gold, silver and copper were mined in the past-pose significant public safety risks.

At least 120 people have died at abandoned mine sites in the past four years due to falling, drowning and gas poisoning, according to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Open shafts, unstable rock, decayed support structures, deadly gasses, lack of oxygen, exposure to explosives and toxic chemicals comprise the BLM's official list of major abandoned mine dangers.

More than 500,000 abandoned hardrock mines litter the U.S., yet the 1872 Mining Law requires absolutely no cleanup or responsibility for these sites.

Legislation introduced by Rep. Mark Udall would help address the public safety threat of abandoned mines. To learn more about the bill (H.R. 504) or to become a cosponsor, please contact Stan Sloss at 225-2161.

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