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A Case History of the Smuggler Mine, Aspen, Colorado.

Fitch WN; Schneider GJ
Paper in Internatl Conf on Environmental Issues and Management of Waste in Energy and Min pro :29 pages
The Aspen story--and that of the Smuggler Mine--is the story of a silver bonanza that took too long to bring into production. The silver market crashed as the richest mines came into full production. The tremendous promise for wealth was not fulfilled. The men who financed and operated the mines made several attempts to revive the failing mines, but the mines never returned to production. Once the major mines closed, they did not reopen. After that, the only mineral production came from processing the wastes of earlier production. The Aspen ores were silver-lead-zinc ores. Silver was the commodity sought, with the lead being a secondary product. Lead became a more important product as the price of silver plunged. However, the wastes from the early silver contained significant levels of lead, which were not captured. This lead has been mixed with soil as the land was converted into housing land use. The point of telling this story is to show that mines should be closed promptly and properly after the cessation of mining. Today, delaying mine closure leaves the mining operator open to new liability under the superfund process set up by the comprehensive environmental response, compensation and liability act. As this story illustrates, this liability can be substantial.
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
OP 199-90
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Paper in Internatl. Conf. on Environmental Issues and Management of Waste in Energy and
Page last reviewed: December 3, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division