The San Juan Mining Conference celebrates its third year of free public education Thursday, April 18-Friday, April 19, in Lake City’s Moseley Arts Center.
The Uncompahgre Watershed Partnership founded the event in 2010, as the San Juan Hardrock Mining and Water Quality Conference, and has worked over the last three years to forge relationships between conservation groups, historic mining communities, and extractive industry professionals.
Last year’s conference drew more than 100 participants who heard about the geologic context for mining in the San Juans, best practices in reclamation and water quality monitoring and industry perspectives on regulation.
This year UWP is collaborating with the Lake Fork Valley Conservancy, Hinsdale County, and Mountain Studies Institute to spark a dialogue about the benefits legacy and operational mines can bring to communities. Case studies featuring Lake City’s operational gold mine, the Golden Wonder, and the historic Ute-Ulay townsite, silver mine, and milling complex will frame the discussion.
Talks begin Thursday morning with a focus on transforming legacy mines into community assets and reclamation methods that revive lost history and heal the environment. In the afternoon, mine operators and regulators will share strategies for success and identify partnerships that benefit employees, the environment, and the bottom line.
On the agenda are 15 speakers from diverse backgrounds, including professionals from the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, Creede’s Willow Creek Reclamation Committee, and Ouray’s Camp Bird Mine.
Friday morning will be devoted to the Ute-Ulay, with a short lecture by LKA Gold International Inc.’s President Kye Abraham, preceding the roadside site visit that caps the conference. Hinsdale County Commissioner Stan Whinnery, Downtown Improvement and Revitalization Team’s Kristine Borchers and Mark Rudolph with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Voluntary Cleanup Program will lead the expedition, chronicling the Ute-Ulay’s history and how their successful collaboration enabled it to be reclaimed as a heritage tourism destination.
The conference is free and open to the public, with financial contributions from the CDPHE’s Non-Point Source 319 Program, Caldera Mineral Resources, Trout Unlimited, DRMS, Newmont Corporation, The Mosaic Community Project, Star Mine Operations, and Miners & Merchant’s Bank contributing to keep admission free, this year.