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Star District Abandoned Mine Reclamation Project Beaver County, Utah
When the Star District Project first came up during the Utah Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program Long Range Planning Meeting for the year 2000, it seemed like a good project. The project was in a mining district with a large number of mine openings. Mineral commodity prices were low and the district did not have a lot of active exploration or mining permits on file. Based on our discussions with the Bureau of Land Management, the Star district was a sleepy mining district with little to no activity and not much public interest.
When a process goes smoothly we believe everything was done correctly and this reinforces our belief in the process that brought us success. When a process fails we try to figure out what went wrong. We try a different approach. We try something new. We learn NEW things. By the time the Star District Project was completed we had so many opportunities for learning that everyone on the staff had learned something new.
This paper briefly describes how the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program selects project areas and describes why the Star District Project took nearly six years to complete. A series of adverse issues affected the project. The consulting firm was performing their first abandoned mine inventory under a fairly new Project Manager. The larger than anticipated number of abandoned mine openings ate through the budget before the entire project area could be inventoried. The cultural contractor had a new team leader managing the field surveys (started nearly five months late because of snow cover) who then left the firm before the report was finished which happened when the State Historic Preservation Officer retired. More than half of the mine openings were shafts requiring more money and time than budgeted to complete the bat surveys. Initial construction bids were twice the budgeted amount requiring a second bid offering. Patented claim owners withdrew their rights of entry. The local Mayor and City Council passed a resolution opposing the project work.
The Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program began inventory and engineering work on the Star District Project in December of 2001. The closure construction was completed six years later in December 2007 with some additional construction spilling over into the spring of 2008. Ultimately, most of the initial goals of the project were met.
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