More than 100 abandoned mines northeast of Marysvale in Piute County will be sealed and the areas rehabilitated in a program conducted by the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining.
The abandoned mines are in the Antelope Range, Sage Flat and White Hills areas. Division officials said 109 sites will be involved in the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program.Reclamation activities will entail the sealing of mine shafts and adits, or horizontal passages from the surfaces of the mines. Steel grates will be installed over some of the entrances and areas will be backfilled with available material.
Taxes on current coal production in the state will pay for the project. The work is expected to begin in mid-June and be completed in Au-gust.
Officials say safety problems occur when mines are abandoned. Many abandoned mines are located along the popular Paiute ATV Trail. The closure and reclamation program has been on-going for the past 15 years through-out the state, including coal and non-coal mines.
Marysvale has been a center for mining through many decades reach-ing back into the late 1800s. Mines northeast of Marysvale produced uranium during the 1950's. Before that time, the mining heyday was primarily in gold and silver.
There is little or no production now, although some excavation con-tin-ues. Some efforts to reopen gold and silver mines have failed to come to fruition. The ghost towns of Kimberly and Little Sevier, high in the Tuschar Mountain Range, were once thriving mining communities but today little is left of them.
It is believed mining in the area could date back as far as 300 years when the Spanish Conquistadors probably mined and crushed ore for extraction of the metals. Two such devises have been found in the Marysvale area and Spanish characters carved in a quaking aspen tree line indicate a Spanish presence. There have been no formal efforts to document that part of the area's mining history, however.
A Miners Park has been established in Bullion Canyon about five miles west of Marysvale through a project involving the town of Marysvale, Piute County and the Fishlake National Forest.