The Sustainability Laboratory

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Turning a toxic site of abandoned mines into a thriving ecosystem

In collaboration with the owner of a field of abandoned mines in Gleeson, Arizona, The Lab is exploring the possibility of developing a model project that would showcase the application of sustainability principles to the vexing problem of mine remediation.

As a first step, we have collaborated with a team of design students at the Arizona-based ECOSA Institute, who were asked to develop concepts for possible uses of the site as their graduation project. The students conducted substantial research about the site, its history, and current conditions. They developed two alternative design proposals, which will provide an important foundation for further development work.

Students and faculty from the ECOSA Institute working on the preliminary plans for Project Turquoise Mountain

We look forward to launching this project as a full-blown initiative that will be christened Project Turquoise Mountain. This proposed initiative intends to incorporate the application of bioremediation to abandoned mine tailings, as well as a major ecosystem restoration effort. It also includes the development of a green technology innovation center, a cultural and community center, an artists’ residency and sculpture walk, the promotion of sustainable agriculture, eco-tourism opportunities, and more. Project Turquoise Mountain ultimately aims to turn an abandoned, toxic site into a thriving ecosystem and multi-use oasis.

A typical tailing on the proposed site for Project Turquoise Mountain
ECOSA students who developed the project concept, with ECOSA Director Tony Brown and Lab founder Michael Ben-Eli