The Holden Mine was an underground copper mine operated by the Howe Sound Mining Company between 1938 and 1957. After the mine closed, Howe Sound gave it and the accompanying town site to the Lutheran Bible Institute, which has operated a spiritual retreat center called Holden Village under a special permit from the U.S. Forest Service ever since.

Operation of the mine left behind several environmental and safety problems, including open underground mine workings, millions of tons of tailings resulting in acid rock drainage, and elevated levels of metals in the soil and water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency named Howe Sound successor Intalco (later acquired by Alcan) as the “Potentially Responsible Party” for the cleanup in the early 1990s. For the next several years, the parties involved studied 14 different alternatives for the cleanup. Rio Tinto inherited responsibility for the remediation when it acquired Alcan in 2007. In January 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Forest Service issued a Record of Decision on the cleanup, allowing Rio Tinto to get started with remediation.