Reclamation Program

Photo of crew safeguarding an abandoned mine shaftIt takes a diverse team of earth scientists, engineers, geologists, and hydrologists working together to ensure that mining operations are planned, executed and the land reclaimed to appropriate environmental standards.

Their teamwork and expertise ensure that mining is conducted in an environmentally sound manner that protects communities and other natural resources. Modern mining laws and regulations ensure that environmental impacts to water, air, land, wildlife and local communities are minimized, and that reclamation is performed to allow beneficial post mining land use.

Environmental Protection Specialists at the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety specialize in many areas including geology, biology, wildlife management, range and soil science, mining engineering, hydrology and mine safety.

Geologists that work for the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety use their skills and training in many facets of mining in Colorado. They apply geotechnical techniques and principles to collect data, study rock, and earth materials and groundwater that affect the operation of active mines as well as the reclamation of abandoned mines.

Photo of abandoned mined land reclamation project under constructionWith increased emphasis on protecting the environment, many mining engineers work to solve problems related to land reclamation and water and air pollution. Environmental engineers at the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety review mining and reclamation plans to ensure that environmental impacts to air, water, land and local communities are minimized. 

Water is an important part of mining and reclamation in Colorado. As water moves through mine workings and waste piles it can become contaminated with metals and other elements. Exposure to storm water and erosion can cause mine waste piles to contaminate adjacent streams and rivers.

Hydrologists help determine how water moves through abandoned mine areas, and how that water interacts with the area’s watersheds. By measuring the flow rates, ph (water acidity), and mineral and chemical content of water near mines, they can help us understand where to take action, and what to do.