10,000 abandoned mines tallied in Nevada
August 23, 2004
The state Minerals Division has now recorded the state’s 10,000th abandoned mine.
Division administrator Alan Coyner said the good news is nearly 8,000 of the mine sites discovered so far have been secured by owners, volunteers and the Minerals Division.
The bad news is, according to Coyner, there may be up to 50,000 abandoned mine openings in the state.
“These sites are a legacy from historical mining activity,” he said. “The securing of abandoned mines will increase public safety in Nevada.”
In addition to finding old mine openings and making them secure so people don’t get trapped inside, the division operates a program urging people – especially youngsters – to “Stay Out and Stay Alive.”
Coyner said old mines contain hazards ranging form bad air to rattlesnakes, rotten timbers that could cave in and old, unstable explosives. He said abandoned mines can be found in every part of the state. The division’s efforts are focused around cities and towns and recreation areas, where people are more likely to be present.
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Bill Durbin, chief of the abandoned-mine program, said the efforts have paid off, evidenced by the fact that injuries and fatalities at the old mines have remained stable at about one per year, even though the population has nearly doubled in the past 10 years.