The Empire Mine, together with other mines in the Grass Valley mining district, produced at least 21.3 million troy ounces (663 tonnes) of gold (Au) during the 1850s through the 1950s, making it the most productive hardrock Au mining district in California history (Clark 1970). The Empire Mine State Historic Park (Empire Mine SHP or EMSHP), established in 1975, provides the public with an opportunity to see many well-preserved features of the historic mining and mineral processing operations (CDPR 2014a).

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A legacy of Au mining at Empire Mine and elsewhere is contamination of mine wastes and...

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