|Crested Butte, Colorado|
by Duane Craig
Mining and clean water seldom go together but U.S. Energy apparently thinks it can bridge that gap while mining for molybdenum in Crested Butte, Colorado, and “showcase how mining could be done right.”
Many residents aren’t buying it since the company already has problems keeping cadmium, aluminum and zinc, leftover from previous mining operations, out of the local water and landscape. A treatment plant operated by the company recently overflowed from heavy rain spilling those contaminants into the larger environment.
The local High Country Citizen’s Alliance has a 30-year record of trying to prevent molybdenum mining in the area. Crested Butte has a peak called Mount Emmons in the area and just below it there is 25 million tons of high grade molybdenum and another 220 million tons of a lesser grade. If U.S. Energy’s explorations in the area show promise based on the price and demand for moly across the globe, the company wants to extract 6,000 tons of rock a day for 10 years. Problem is the mining operations are in the town’s watershed area. U.S. Energy recently got the okay from the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety to explore molybdenum mining options near Crested Butte.