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Abandoned Mine Lands Report

[August 2000] Report to the governor and legislature on the "magnitude and scope" of the abandoned mined lands issue in California.

Estimates of the number of abandoned mine sites and abandoned mine features in California have been amended since an estimate of 128,800 mining features on 39,000 historic and inactive abandoned mine sites was first reported in the Department of Conservation’s 2000 publication California’s Abandoned Mines: A Report on the Magnitude and Scope of the Issue in the State.

The Department estimated in the 2000 Report that 48.5% of the abandoned mine sites were located on federal lands, 1.5% on other public lands, and 50% on private lands.  The new estimates are provided below.

  • The estimated number of abandoned mines in the state is 47,084.

    • Of these, 5,200, or 11%, are estimated to present environmental hazards.
      Also, 39,400, or 84%, are estimated to present physical safety hazards.

  • There are approximately 164,795 mining features in the state.
    • Approximately 62,000, or 38%, of these features are hazardous openings.

  • 67% of the abandoned mine sites in California are on Federal lands.
  • 31% are on private lands.

  • 2% are on state and local lands.