Tailings and Mine Waste Conference

Burlington Mine VCUP case history : an ecological approach to mine site remediation O’Shea-Stone, Maureen


This paper discusses the ecological approach and long-term results of remediation of the Burlington Mine, Boulder County, Colorado under a Voluntary Clean Up (VCUP) action. Located in the eastern Rocky Mountain foothills, this mine produced fluorspar from 1920 to 1973. Prior to the VCUP action, the vacant mine property was dominated by an unvegetated slope covered by a large, acidic waste rock pile, with unprotected mine adit and shaft openings, and numerous subsidence features. An intermittent creek crossed the waste rock, capturing and conducting surface water drainage from the waste rock downstream to confluence with James Creek. Remediation goals integrated an ecologically-based approach to create a self-sustaining local system that would: • establish a naturalistic and functional, self-sustaining plant community, • improve water quality in down gradient receiving streams by reducing surface and ground water interaction with waste rock; • limit potential for future subsidence; and • reduce onsite safety hazards and liability. The VCUP design integrated several innovative techniques that resulted in exceeding basic requirements, met multiple project goals, and accommodated the abundant physical constraints and challenges of remediating a high-altitude mine site. The paper reviews details of the remediation actions and presents monitoring results four years after completion of the VCUP.[All papers were considered for technical and language appropriateness by the organizing committee.]

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