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Abandoned Mine Lands: Technical Resources

This page contains technical reports, studies, and meeting proceedings related to EPA's Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Program. These technical resources cover such topics as:

  • AML contamination assessment and characterization techniques;
  • Types of waste found at AMLs;
  • Technologies used to remediate contamination found at AMLs;
  • Modeling and forecasting impacts from mining; and
  • Financial and bonding studies.

To access the documents listed on this page, please use the document search tool below. Searching by document title or Superfund terms will generate a table of relevant results.

Note: Not all documents may be available at this time. EPA continues to update its website to enhance public access to Superfund-related information.

These reports are generally highly technical in nature and are used to support Agency policy and guidance. These reports are provided to assist readers in better understanding the range of environmental issues found at AMLs. Technical resources are grouped into the following categories:You may need a PDF reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.

On this page:

Case Studies

From innovative cleanup technologies to unique redevelopment opportunities, EPA is addressing abandoned hardrock mines and mining-related sites using a variety of approaches. The case studies below highlight site assessment, cleanup, stakeholder involvement, reuse approaches and lessons learned from work at mine sites. Because each mining site is unique, approaches taken at one site may not be applicable to another mine site. However, it is possible to apply similar solutions to mining sites across the county.

Site Case Studies

  • Bunker Hill, ID- wetland restorationExit
  • California Gulch, CO
  • Central City/Clear Creek, CO
  • Cherokee County, KS (PDF) (10 pp, 57 K)
  • Chevron Questa Solar (PDF) (16 pp, 6.8 MB)
  • Coalinga Asbestos, CA
  • Copper Basin Mining District, TN (PDF) (7 pp, 669 K)
  • Elizabeth Mine, VT (PDF) (10 pp, 899 K)
  • Ely Shoshone Tribe, NV (PDF) (2 pp, 899 K)
  • Iron Mountain Mine, CA (PDF) (17 pp, 920 K)
  • Kennecott Mining Site (PDF) (17 pp, 1 MB)
  • Leadville, CO (PDF) (10 pp, 1.1 MB)
  • Libby Asbestos, MT (PDF) (18 pp, 2.8 MB)
  • Lefthand Creek Watershed, CO (PDF) (6 pp, 690 K)
  • Midvale Slag (PDF) (18 pp, 1.9 MB)
  • Murray City, UT (PDF) (7 pp, 586 K)
  • Silver Bow Creek/Butte Area (Clark Tailings and Warm Springs Pond), MT (PDF) (2 pp, 166 K)
  • Silver Bow Creek/Butte Area (Walkerville), MT (PDF) (17 pp, 5.8 MB)

Applied Technology Case Studies

  • Compost/Biosolids Application at Palmerton Zinc Pile, PA (PDF) (9 pp, 977 K)
  • Constructed Wetlands at Copper Basin, TN (PDF) (8 pp, 468 K)
  • Permeable Reactive Barrier at East Helena, MT (PDF) (5 pp, 430 K)
  • Sulfate-Reducing Bioreactor at Leviathan Mine, CA (PDF) (10 pp, 759 K)

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Mine Waste Research

EPA conducts and funds research on solutions to contamination problems caused by mine waste. EPA’s Office of Research and Development established the Mine Waste Technology Program (MWTP) to conduct research into mine waste contamination problems. The MWTP’s mission emphasized technology development, testing and evaluation through pilot- scale field demonstrations and providing engineering solutions to environmental issues resulting from the mining and smelting of metallic ores.

Other EPA Mine Waste Research Papers/Reports:

Mine Waste Technology Program Phosphate Stabilization of Heavy Metals Contaminated Mine Waste Yard Soils, Joplin, Missouri NPL Site.
EPA/600/R-04/090. April 2004.

Performing Quality Flow Measurements at Mine Sites.
EPA/600/R-01/043. September 2001.

Characterization and Eh/pH-Based Leaching Tests of Mercury-containing Mining Wastes from the Sulfur Bank Mercury Mine, Lake County, California.
EPA/600/R-02/032. September 2001.

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Technical Reports

The following reports highlight technologies and technical resources related to the assessment, characterization, cleanup, and revitalization of current and abandoned mining and mineral processing sites.

Mining Geochemistry or Fate and Transport


Biological Remediation/Treatment


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Assessment & Cleanup Technologies

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Composting at Mine Sites

Compost is commonly added to other to materials for use on reclaimed tailings to restore remediated materials as a plant supporting soil and to support the revegetation of sites where contaminated soil or material has been removed. Many of the technologies used in addressing contamination at abandoned mine land sites are detailed below:

Compost versus Biosolids

Compost is the product resulting from the controlled biological decomposition of organic material that has been sanitized through the generation of heat and stabilized to the point that it is beneficial to plant growth. Compost contains plant nutrients, but bears little physical resemblance to the raw material from which it originated and is not typically characterized as a fertilizer.

- Adapted from the US Composting Council's Field Guide to Compost Use

Biosolids are the nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of sewage sludge. Sewage sludge is the solid, semisolid or liquid untreated residue generated during the treatment of domestic sewage in a treatment facility.
- From EPA's Biosolids Program

General Composting Information

Composting at Mine Sites

You may need a PDF reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.

Chemical Bonding Capabilities

Slope Stability and Erosion Control

Revegetation Using Compost

Video Presentation

EPA. Environmental Response Television (ERTV) series. Biosolids Recycling: Restore, Reclaim, Remediate (ERTV)  - A video presentation produced by the U.S. EPA Environmental Response Program.

Program Description: Sewage treatment results in wastewater being recycled to the environment, but the solids removed from wastewater can also be processed and turned into a nutrient rich fertilizer. Today’s primary use of this fertilizer is to restore overworked agricultural soils, but research by the USDA and the USEPA/ERT has now opened the way for use of biosolids to reclaim lands destroyed by mining.

Other Related Uses

  • Johnson, D. Barrie and Kevin B. Hallberg. Biogeochemistry of the Compost Bioreactor Components of a Composite Acid Mine Drainage Passive Remediation System (Abstract, with option to buy full text EXIT). Science of The Total Environment Volume 338, Issues 1-2, 1. Pages 81-93. February 2005.
  • Inkret, John, Bernie Jensen, Doug Richmond. Using Topsoil as a Microbial Inoculant. 2003 National Meeting of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation and the 9th Billings Land Reclamation Symposium. 2003.
  • EPA Mine Waste Technology Program. Improvements in Engineered Bioremediation of Acid Mine Drainage. Mine Waste Technology Program 2003 Annual Report, Activity III Project 24. DW89938870-01-0. 2003.
  • EPA Mine Waste Technology Program. Integrated Passive Biological Treatment Process Demonstration. Mine Waste Technology Program 2003 Annual Report, Activity III, Project 16. DW89938870-01-0. 2003.
  • EPA Mine Waste Technology Program. Anaerobic Compost Constructed Wetlands System Technology - SITE ITER. National Risk Management Research Laboratory. EPA/540/R-02/506. December 2002.

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AML Team Reference Notebook

The Abandoned Mine Lands Team Reference Notebook illustrates the extent of abandoned mine lands contamination problems across the U.S. and the actions that EPA's is taking in addressing this problem. While this document provides assistance to EPA staff in better coordinating their AML functions, it is a technical resource, not EPA guidance. As this document provides an overview of many topics, appendices and tables offer a deeper examination of individual chapter components.

Abandoned Mine Lands Team Reference Notebook (PDF)(223 pp, 3.08 MB). September 2004.You may need a PDF reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.

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Search AML Technology Research Summaries

The AML Technology Research Summaries searchable database contains summaries of research conducted by the commercial industry, academia, and governmental bodies. These summaries are derived from reports on demonstration and full scale technology applications, feasibility studies and field research, and other technology research news relevant to the remediation of abandoned mine lands. Many of the summaries come from a regular search of the following databases:

  • EI Compendex Plus (Engineering Information, Inc.)
  • Energy Science and Technology Database (U.S. Department of Energy)
  • Enviroline (Congressional Information Service, Inc.)
  • Geobase (Elsevier)
  • Newsletter Database (Thomson Gale)
  • National Technical Information Service (NTIS)

These databases index a range of periodicals and conference presentations covering all aspects of technology development. Additional relevant EPA and other federal and state agency research documents are also included in this searchable database. The vast majority of the items in the database were published, released, or presented in 2002 or later. These summaries include links to full text documents or further information online when available.

Other databases of information on remediation technologies can be found on the list of Remediation Databases found on EPA's CLU-IN web site. These sources are not specific to abandoned mine land technologies, but they may contain information about applicable technology.

Search AML Technology Research Summaries

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