Wyoming Statewide Non-Coal Reclamation Project

Wyoming Statewide Non-Coal Reclamation Project
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

Wenck was contracted by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Abandoned Mine Land Division (AML) to provide professional design and construction management services related to closure of abandoned hard rock mines throughout the State of Wyoming. This job was one of the earliest statewide shaft and adit closures and encompasses pre-Law sites throughout the State. Typically these sites included historic copper, gold, and silver mines, but later evolved into sand and gravel, limestone, feldspar, gypsum as well as small uranium mines. In many cases the date of initial mining took place in the late 1800’s. The purpose of the project was to eliminate hazardous openings, highwalls, water pollution and entrapment issues. In many cases there were active mine claims, patented surface and/or government-controlled surface. Wenck determined surface and mineral ownership of the area, obtained consents and clearances for access to the project area, and determined the eligibility of the site to be reclaimed utilizing AML funds.

The project areas included the South Pass Mining District, Sierra Madre, Snowy Range, Laramie Range, Kemmerer area, Guernsey Hartville area and the Powder River Basin. Permanent closure techniques included backfill, bulkhead and backfill, and polyurethane foam and backfill. In several cases, where access to the underground workings was required, Wenck developed designs that included bat grates, steel grates, and steel grates with an access port or manway. Several of the sites were culturally significant and Wenck developed a plan that permitted the preservation of the cultural features. Unique closure designs, specific to a site were developed and tailored to a landowner’s wishes- allowing permanent closure, yet access to the mineral. In some cases design and construction was fast tracked because of the severity of the hazard to human beings.

To save costs to the state and allow an equitable distribution of the work to smaller contractors, Wenck worked closely with AML in the development of a statewide contractor selection program. The initial contracting was typified after the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Open End Contracts and was Task Order based. AML has since developed a robust contractor selection program which meets all of the State’s procurement rules. 

Major Project Features: 

  • Utilizing Steel Structures to Close Vertical Openings
  • Utilizing Steel and Wood Lagging to Close Adits
  • Backfill Closures
  • Polyurethane Foam Closures
  • Bat Grates and Steel Grate Closures
  • Historical Reconstruction

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