100,000–500,000 (rough estimate from BLM)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) tries to keep up with the number, but it is not easy. Some abandoned mines are old, small, and forgotten.
They know of about 12,204.
From the BLM FAQs:
“There are 12,204 known sites in the BLM AML database as of 4/9/2008. Approximately twenty to thirty percent of AML sites pose safety hazards, and approximately five to ten percent pose environmental hazards. In addition, there are an estimated total of 100,000–500,000 AML sites to be fully identified or characterized. Unfortunately, a comprehensive inventory of abandoned mines does not currently exist”
No one knows exactly how many abandoned mines exist. There are tens of thousands in Utah and hundreds of thousands in the U.S. “New” ones (unlisted in Bureau of Land Management or National Park Service records) are being discovered every day, some by accident, most by adventurers who hunt them out.
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