Today, it would be irresponsible to proceed with mine development without substantial knowledge of the mine's probable environmental impacts and costs. The creation of new mining superfund sites is not acceptable. Mine planning from cradle to grave is absolutely necessary in today's world; furthermore, it is good economics. There are many complex issues involving the use of the nation's resources. Research is showing that the environmental regulations must allow waste management strategies to be formulated around the specific attributes of each mine site. The adversarial roles of industry and environmental regulatory agencies must be reduced, and difficult issues must be mediated by independent technical and scientific agencies, such as universities and the U.S. Bureau of Mines. Industry and government must establish a partnership to achieve environmental quality. Three concepts should guide how we manage mining wastes. First, waste management will dominate the industry's priorities and economics as costs, including liabilities, approach costs of the traditional mining cycle. Second, it is not appropriate to attempt long-term, permanent containment of mine waste contaminants. Third, we must manage our waste with the understanding that today's waste will be tomorrow's resource.