Mining Module – Students

Welcome Students!mine

Mining has a long and rich history in Park County and surrounding areas. This economic driver enticed many to settle in South Park, establishing towns and providing a livelihood for numerous workers. Mining is notable for its historic significance and continued contributions to important industries, but it has not left the land unscathed. Environmental degradation from historic and current mining operations continues to be a concern. Mining is not a vestige of the past; its relevance lives on as it continues to impact our lives.

This module will guide you in an exploration of mining as it relates to your local communities and environment. After an introductory presentation providing an overview of mining and its significance in South Park, you will begin a group research project delving into the history and social aspects of mining, surface mining, underground mining, and milling and processing. You will also get hands-on experience understanding how mining practices can affect water quality through a lab exploring acid mine drainage and dissolved oxygen.  

Learning about the past and present of mining is important for understanding the roots of your community and how mining can impact areas, both positively and negatively. CUSP’s work throughout the Upper South Platte Watershed, which encompasses South Park, to address water quality and ecological health has long had a focus on understanding and mitigating mining impacts. After completing this module, you will have an opportunity to come out with CUSP to explore this topic further during a mining service-learning project.



The Coalition for the Upper South Platte


Support for the creation of this module was generously provided by the South Park National Heritage Area.




This module will guide you in an exploration of mining as it relates to your local community and environment.


  • Students understand the local history of mining and the societal significance of mining.
  • Students understand how surface mining, underground mining, and milling and processing work.
  • Students understand the impact mining can have on water quality and the environment.
  • Students understand water chemistry changes related to acid mine drainage.



Activity 1: Mining History and Methods Research

List of Resources

Topic 1: History and Social Aspects of Mining
History and Social Aspects of Mining Student Worksheet

Topic 2: Surface Mining
Surface Mining Student Worksheet

Topic 3: Underground Mining
Underground Mining Student Worksheet

Topic 4: Milling and Processing
Milling and Processing Student Worksheet

Activity 1 Documents, Materials, and Resources
List of Resources
19th Century Timeline
20th Century Timeline
Acid Mine Drainage Overview Presentation
Anatomy of a Mine from Prospect to Production 
Bioremediation of Acid Mine Drainage Using Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria 
Black Lung Disease Presentation 
Boom to Bust: Social and Cultural Impacts of the Mining Cycle 
Colorado Mining History 
Environmental Emission of Mercury During Gold Mining by Amalgamation Process and its Impact on Soils of Gympie, Australia
Environmental Management: Clean Water Research as Related to Acid Mine Drainage Lesson Plan
Events Affecting the U.S. Nonfuel Minerals Industry 1900-2000 
Exploring the Process of Sedimentation 
Geology and Mineral Resources of Park County Colorado
Geology, Mining, and Water Quality Presentation 
Glossary of Mining Terms 
Health Risks of Gold Miners: A Synoptic Review 
How is Mine Drainage Formed? 
Minerals in Our Environment 
pH, Alkalinity, Acidity, Oh My! 
Science of Acid Mine Drainage and Passive Treatment 
The Life Cycle of a Mineral Deposit 
Uranium Mining in Colorado 2010 
Wetlands for the Treatment of Mine Drainage 


Activity 2: Acid Mine Drainage and Dissolved Oxygen Lab

Lab Summary Document
Lab Summary Link

Option 1: PASPORT System
Lab Overview and Instructions

Option 2: Science Workshop System
Lab Overview and Instructions