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Mark your Calendars for the combined San Juan Mining and Reclamation Conference & Innovation Expo: September 24-26, 2019 in Silverton, CO.

Missed the 2018 Expo? Subscribe to our mailing list and get updates and notification of future events. And, mark your calendars now for the 2019 combined Innovation Expo & San Juan Mining and Reclamation Conference (September 24-26).

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Early Bird Sponsors - email tiffany@mountainstudies.org

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the theme:

Changing approaches


Modern mining began in the San Juan Mountains nearly 150 years ago. Reclamation plans for active mines have been required for forty years, and remediation of abandoned and inactive historic mines in the San Juan Mountains has been ongoing for over 25 years. Much has been learned about mining and reclamation, and changes have occurred over the decades. Now may be a good time to contemplate what those changes are or could be, and given what we’ve learned, consider whether we need to understand and consider different approaches towards mining and reclamation.

The 9th annual San Juan Mining and Reclamation Conference and 3rd Annual Innovation Expo are both happening in Silverton this year, so the two will be conjoined to focus on changing approaches in both mining and reclamation. Some of these changes are happening organically, some are planned locally, and some come from external sources outside of local control.

The 2019 conference will be an opportunity to step back and look at the bigger picture of mining and reclamation activities in the San Juan Mountains. We plan to discuss the changes that are occurring or should occur in:

  • Setting overall cleanup goals – Several San Juan Mountain watersheds have cleanup goals for a couple of specific metals through negotiated settlements between large mining companies and regulatory agencies. In the Animas River watershed, goals for a number of metals at several locations were determined through a comprehensive, but now dated process, driven by local stakeholders. Given a lack of pre-mining environmental data and natural sources of metal loading, how should goals for cleanup be set? What are some approaches and can they be improved?

  • Voluntary versus regulatory approaches, or something in between Both voluntary and regulatory processes for mine cleanup have been utilized in the San Juans. How well do they work and are they effective in meeting overall cleanup goals? Are there changes that should be made?

  • Funding and partnership opportunities – With the possible exception of Superfund, federal money for abandoned mine remediation is disappearing. Land management agencies see overall budgets declining and have more pressing priorities. Funding for 319 grants has significantly diminished. What new approaches can be used to fund projects?

  • Mining techniques for minimizing environmental impacts – We all use mining products and unmined mineral deposits still exist in the San Juans. How can these valuable ores be extracted without leaving the environmental consequences that historical mining did?

The Innovation Expo will highlight changes and innovations with a focus on technological development and business opportunities to bring those innovations to market for more widespread use. Technological areas will include emerging changes in:

  • Monitoring, remote sensing, and assessment of data
  • Treatment methods for acid drainage and mine waste
  • Prevention of acid generation and in-situ treatment*
  • Development of valuable products from frequently disposed waste material
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Mountain Studies Institute is proud to announce that the 2nd annual Silverton Innovation Expo was held August 28th -30th in Silverton, CO.

The gathering was a meeting of the minds, bringing together industry representatives, government agencies, scientists, nonprofits and citizens to explore the need for innovation through expert presentations, networking opportunities, poster sessions and field tours of active reclamation sites. 

In successive years, the Expo will evolve into a tradeshow format, providing a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas as well as a prime opportunity for exhibitors and speakers to showcase their innovative future technologies and build partnerships with other stakeholders.

We hope you will plan on joining us for next year's Expo, as we continue to re-envision and revitalize the future of reclamation!