HomeNews HCCA “mine drift” appeal rejected by state mine board
HCCA “mine drift” appeal rejected by state mine board
Written by Mark Reaman
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Drift could start this summer
The state last week rejected an appeal by the High Country Citizens’ Alliance to overturn a decision approving a proposal for additional prospecting at the proposed Mt. Emmons molybdenum mine. With a 4-1 vote, the Colorado Mined Reclamation Board agreed to allow a new mine tunnel, or drift, to be constructed as part of the proposed prospecting activities by the Mt. Emmons Moly Company (MEMCO). The original decision was approved by the Colorado Division of Reclamation and Mining Safety (DRMS).
The hearing lasted almost five and a half hours. With the MLRB’s ruling in place, MEMCO is now authorized by the state of Colorado to pursue prospecting activities, which will allow for further exploration to better define the molybdenum deposit at Mount Emmons. In a press release from MEMCO, Larry Clark, vice president and general manager of the Mount Emmons Project for Thompson Creek said, “MEMCO will continue to work through permitting requirements as we proceed with these activities, and we will continue keeping the Gunnison Country community apprised of our progress.” MEMCO director of community relations Perry Anderson said the company is obviously pleased by the state’s decision. “There is additional planning, engineering and applicable permitting required prior to the prospecting program commencing and it will be several months before there is any activity on the property with regards to the prospecting program,” he said. “Ideally we’d like to begin this summer.” On the other side, HCCA executive director Dan Morse was disappointed with the decision. “I think we were well heard by the mine board but there are still issues out there,” he said. “We think we laid out a compelling set of facts and legal arguments but we think the board didn’t understand or chose to disregard some of those arguments. “We continue to have concerns about the risk of the impacts from these approved activities,” Morse continued. “Constructing a drift and the related facilities like pipelines and waste rock storage will have significant impacts. We are also concerned about the lack of adequate bonding for the scope of the facilities and work involved with this activity. It is an established fact that water coming from this project will go through the Water Treatment Plant so the activities are dependent on that plant. If that plant shuts down, we’ll end up with a pollution problem, so financial assurance should be required before anything starts.” Morse said given the chance for continued risk, HCCA is continuing to look at possible options for further recourse but no decisions have yet been made. He did say there is a silver lining in the outcome. “This was the first time such a citizen’s appeal been heard so that is a good thing,” he said. “On the bright side, there is a direction from the state for more openness in the process.” MEMCO’s press release summed up, “The MLRB recognized and confirmed that the company is taking a reasonable and measured approach to this work… The Mount Emmons Project is a proposed underground mining operation located in Gunnison County, Colorado, and managed by Mt. Emmons Moly Company, a subsidiary of Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc. The Mount Emmons mineral deposit is one of the largest and highest grade molybdenum (moly) deposits in the world. The Mount Emmons Project, when complete, is expected to create over 300 jobs and contribute significantly to the strength and diversity of the Gunnison Country economy.”