Evolution is a dynamic process. Just as our Earth has changed from its origins, so too, has Society and its demand for natural resources.
Millions of years ago, the San Juan Mountain region was covered by an ocean. The sediments deposited in that environment remained as the oceans drained to form the sandstone canyon walls and red rock rims around us. Areas of lush vegetation, subsequently buried, formed coal beds. Paleo-rivers dried up, leaving radioactive residues in place. Mountains intruded upon the landscape, extruding molten rock and minerals from deep within the earth.
Society has depended on natural resources for almost everything, from its inception through the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Industrial Age, continuing today, the Information Age. The nomenclature itself indicates the reliance on earthen materials.
“If you can’t grow it, you have to mine it.” Mining, too, has evolved with the needs of society and technological advances. Reclamation of mining disturbances developed as the impacts of ore extraction and waste deposition to public health and the environment began to be understood.
The 2015 San Juan Mining and Reclamation Conference will explore the legacy and future of mining in the San Miguel Watershed, focusing on the hard rock gold and silver mines in the upper basins, coal on the mesas and uranium/vanadium operations in the desert reaches. Come join us for field trips in Telluride mining district, Nucla coal fields, and Uravan uranium sites on May 28 and a day-long conference in Telluride Mountain Village on May 29.
For more information, visit http://www.uncompahgrewatershed.org/san-juan-mining-conference/.