science & Innovation center
The Science & Innovation Center promotes a public-private model of community development through collaborative innovation that advances technology related to environmental aspects of mining. The Center will: a) support entrepreneurs and partners to design, test, and advance technology; b) promote and encourage the advancement of technology standards; c) offer a clearing house of information related to the technology, legal, and business opportunities associated with new mining and mine remediation.
Thousands of orphaned and abandoned mines in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, across the Rocky Mountain West, and around the world have substantial impacts on the quality of increasingly valuable freshwater resources. Current envelope-pushing efforts to address this challenge have, in isolation, focused on water treatment, surface and source-control management, and a myriad of alternative approaches and technologies. Yet, no initiative embraces a systems approach that combines established remediation concepts with a focus on emerging technologies; business, market and public perspectives; and needed policy reforms.
S&INC’s comprehensive approach, and the technology and improved processes derived from it, would apply equally well to active and future mines. Approaches used to address discharges at new or legacy mines are closely related and can overlap in many cases. Meeting today’s new mining challenge can be the same as addressing tomorrow’s legacy mine challenge and vice versa.
In response to the Gold King Mine wastewater spill of 2015, the Bonita Peak Mining District outside of Silverton, Colorado was designated as a Superfund Site with the support of the community, the State of Colorado and other stakeholders. This spill and the resulting fresh focus on the issue of acid rock drainage is an opportunity to bring stakeholders and regulators together to collaborate on science, technological innovation, and improvements to the regulatory process to develop and apply real and pragmatic solutions to the ground and the water.