A hardrock mining and water conference in Silverton next week has attracted a number of experts in the two fields.
Environmentalists, government officials, academics and industry representatives are scheduled to address the San Juan Hardrock Mining and Water Quality Conference on April 26-27 at the Kendall Mountain Recreation Center.
Strong sponsorship by a variety of entities allows the conference to be offered free, said Chris Peltz of the Mountain Studies Institute, the event coordinator.
The conference has been in the planning for months and months, Peltz said Tuesday. The purpose is to increase the understanding of issues affecting mining and water issues.
The focus of the presentations April 26 will be the upper Animas River where toxic drainage from abandoned mines has compromised water quality, Peltz said.
A similar conference was held last year in Ouray, where the principal topic was the cleanup of the Idarado mine above Ouray.
Mountain Studies Institute is looking into the possibility of a conference next year in Telluride, Peltz said.
Speakers will dominate the first day of the conference this year. Visits to the historic Mayflower Mill and the former mining community of Gladstone are scheduled April 27.
Among the speakers April 26 will be: Loretta Pineda, director of the Colorado Division of Mining, Safety and Reclamation; Larry Perino from the Sunnyside Gold Corp.; Mike Holmes, an Environmental Protection Agency expert on mine remediation and Superfund projects; Peter Butler from the Animas River Stakeholders Group and chairman of the state Water Quality Control Commission; John Ridley from Colorado State University; and Doug Yager from the U.S. Geological Survey.