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Open-File Report 95–23
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The Summitville Mine and its Downstream Effects

An ON-LINE UPDATE of Open File Report 95-23

By Robert C . Bigelow and Geoffrey S. Plumlee

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The Summitville gold mine, located at ~3800 meters (11,500 ft) elevation in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, was the focus of extensive public attention in 1992 and 1993 for environmental problems stemming from recent open-pit mining activities. Summitville catalyzed national debates about the environmental effects of modern mining activities, and became the focus of arguments for proposed revisions to the 1872 Mining Law governing mining activities on public lands. In early 1993, the State of Colorado, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Colorado State University, San Luis Valley agencies, downstream water users, private companies, and individuals began a multi-disciplinary research program to provide needed scientific information on Summitville's environmental problems and downstream environmental effects. Detailed results of this multi-agency effort were presented, along with legal and policy issues, at the Summitville Forum in January, 1995, at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.

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Posted November 1998

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