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Sobell, B., 2012.

A mine in formation

Output Type:Conference paper
Presented at:International Federation of Landscape Architects Congress
Publication:49th World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects, IFLA 2012
Venue:Cape Town, South Africa
Dates:5/9/2012 - 7/9/2012
Pagination:pp. 362-377

The Ute Ulay is a former metal mine in remote Southwest Colorado that comprises a multitude of structures and landforms commonly associated with historic hardrock mining in the Western US. Issues of cultural importance, historical significance, economic sustainability and environmental pollution play out in the arena of this superseded infrastructure. The Ute-Ulay was last active in 1995 and there is currently a transfer of ownership underway from LKA Mining International, to Hinsdale County (the local government). Like many inactive mines in the American West, the mining processes that occurred there have left, amongst other things, a legacy of pollution. With the transfer of ownership of the Ute-Ulay will come a transfer of responsibility for the pollution (actual or future) and for reclamation of the site. Superseded infrastructure is often post-industrial and can manifest at a range of scales and contexts. It is often subject to new uses that are informal or non-human in nature, and these sites are often perceived as difficult places. This paper will focus on post-mining infrastructure and describe two projects (Hardrock Revision and The Ute-Ulay Project) that the author of this paper participated in, based on developing future visions for the Ute-Ulay. It will attempt to use this site and these projects in particular to reflect upon reclamation processes in the context of an integrative, transdisciplinary approach, and to suggest further avenues for exploration when approaching the reclamation of superseded infrastructure.