Abandoned Mines

Democratic Utilities Project: Abandoned Mine Surveys


Beginning in 2012 we took the first steps on the pathway to 100% renewable energy for Michigan’s Copper Country by conducting field surveys of abandoned mines that hold potential for being used in Solar District Heating Systems (SDHS).

In September 2013 we presented our concepts for creating small industries & nonprofit, renewable utilities to the Keweenaw County Economic Development Commission. As a follow-up to their interest in solar district heating using abandoned mines, we expanded our preliminary surveys of potential sites.

To date, our 11-person team has located 40 sites (out of at least 400 known copper/silver mines in three counties), documenting geographic coordinates, land ownership & proximity to the nearest towns.

The Michigan Technological University archives library provided mining industry reports and maps of underground mine workings. The latter records are valuable in estimating volume of heat storage potential, as well as general suitability for SDHS use.

PNGinc’s surveys & associated research is ongoing.

For more details on Copper Country mining history, including slideshows & YouTube links, visit the Rebuilding the Copper Country blog at http://energymining.wordpress.com


keywords: utility, geothermal, district, heating, cooling, power, Keweenaw, abandoned, copper, mines, solar, thermal, mine, survey, wind, generator, efficiency, Michigan, democratic, economy, industrial, strategy, UP, upper, peninsula, Rieli, EDC, economic, development, commission, geographic

Phoenix Navigation & Guidance Inc.


[Current Projects]