Back to Publications

Cultural Resource Preservation: A Consideration Before Mineral Development

George E. Glasier, Proceedings of 28th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1982)

Unfortunately, little has been written on the subject of preservation of cultural, historical, archaeological, and paleontological resources in the context of mineral development. To the extent that exploration for and development of mineral resources requires the review and approval of agencies of the federal or state governments, the mineral developer must consider the impact of the proposed project on archaeological, historical, and paleontological resources.

The preservation of historical resources is not a recent innovation, as evidenced by the desire of man to collect, display, and preserve relics of the past. However, legislation requiring the protection of cultural resources is relatively recent, dating to the early 20th century. The requirements for the indemnification and possible protection of such resources are mandated by both federal and state legislation. The evolution of legislation over the last 80 years has resulted in comprehensive indemnification and protection schemes. In broad terms, historical and archaeological resources are referred to as cultural resources. Paleontological resources, although [636] often included in the concept of cultural resources, involve primarily resources dealing with the life of past geological periods as known from fossil remains. Collectively, these diverse resources will be referred to as cultural resources.