Ron Cohen

Emeritus Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado School of Mines

Ronald R. H. Cohen, PhD is Emeritus Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines and also has held an appointment as Professor Extraordinaire, Northwest University, Potchefstroom, South Africa. Expertise: includes treatment and remediation of mine wastes; environmental site characterization for the mining industries; and remediation of America’s nuclear weapons sites. Dr. Cohen has worked on mining related uranium remediation in a South African watershed. He has consulted, served as an expert witness and lectured on mining and the environment in or concerning South Africa, India, Nepal, Brazil, Mali, Chile, Venezuela, Canada, China, England and in the USA. Received a Certificate of Special Recognition from the US Congress for remediation and restoration of nuclear weapons facilities in the USA. Shared in the 1991 First Prize for Environmental Projects from the American Consulting Engineers Council for development of treatment systems for mining influenced water. Received graduating class “Outstanding Professor of the Year” award for 12 consecutive years. Interviewed about the Gold King Mine spill and the issue of abandoned mines with: NY Times, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, NPR, Colorado Public Radio, International Business News, The Guardian UK and US, Smithsonian, National Geographic, Al Jazeera, and local TV Stations.

Ron is speaking at

October 12, 2019
10:45 am - 12:00 pm
Room 312, 3rd Floor, Lory Student Center


  • Theresa Braine (Moderator) Breaking News, National Desk, New York Daily News
  • Matt Brown (Speaker) The Associated Press
  • Ron Cohen (Speaker) Emeritus Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
  • Dan Elliott (Speaker) Associated Press
  • Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Speaker) Lecturer, American Indian Studies, California State University San Marcos


In August 2015, three million gallons of contaminated mining wastewater broke through a plug of rock and debris at the mouth of an entrance to the defunct Gold King Mine outside Silverton, Colorado, while EPA subcontractors were examining it for remediation purposes. The heavy-metals-laden water cascaded into a creek feeding the Animus River, turning it lurid orange, and from there gushed into the San Juan, which flows through several states and Native American nations, including the Navajo Nation. This is just one of thousands of abandoned mines in the Western United States leaking contaminated water, many of them Superfund sites. This panel will use the Gold King Mine spill to illustrate the scope of the problem and give tips on how to mine Superfund documents and archives for crucial environmental stories.

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