April 23, 2009

BLM seals abandoned mines in the desert

From Staff Reports
Barstow Desert Dispatch

The Bureau of Land Management is moving to seal abandoned mines in the Mojave desert.

Working with a new public/private partnership called Fix a Shaft Today!, the BLM recently sealed a mine shaft in the Mojave National Preserve near the Nevada border and one on BLM land near Ludlow, according to a release from the bureau. The Mojave National Preserve, California Department of Conservation Mine Reclamation, 4Granite Inc., and PUF-SEAL partnered with the BLM on the projects.

Before closing the mines, the BLM surveyed them to make sure they were not being used as habitat by bats or other wildlife, according to the release. The California Department of Conservation Abandoned Mine Lands Unit has identified about 165,000 mine features on 47,000 abandoned mine sites in the state.

BLM spokesman David Briery said that the bureau expects to get funding for abandoned mine closures from the stimulus package, but have gotten no official word.

The BLM California Desert District is kicking off a public scoping period for an assessment that will address safety hazards associated with abandoned mines. For more information, contact Sterling White at 951-697-5239.