Friday, August 13, 2010

Tighter Colorado mining rules will be 'fatal' to uranium mining, company says; enviros applaud

Comment:  Canada, don't like rules to protect CO's water, go back to Canada, we do not want you!

Thursday, August 12, 2010, 7:10pm MDT
Denver Business Journal - by Cathy Proctor

The Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board on Thursday tightened rules for mining operations in the state, including a requirement that a Canadian uranium miner Powertech Uranium Corp. said will be a "fatal" blow to uranium mining in northern Colorado.

The board ruled 7-0 in favor of the new rules.

The new rules require uranium companies planning an "in-situ leach" operation -- a process that injects chemicals to leach the uranium from the ground without resorting to strip mining -- to protect groundwater.

Powertech proposed using such an in-situ mining technique on its Centennial project in Weld County, believed to hold 12.8 million pounds of uranium.

The new rules also requires applicants for in-situ uranium mining to get information on groundwater quality prior to prospecting for uranium.

In an Aug. 6 filing to the reclamation board, Powertech said requiring pre-prospecting groundwater studies "economically and technically impracticable at best -- impossible at worst" because the prospecting has to happen in order to study the groundwater.

"This results in an obvious Catch 22 which would be fatal to any serious potential in-situ recovery project," said the filing by Powertech President Richard Clement.
Mike King, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, and a member of the reclamation board, on Thursday applauded the new rules.

"These rules will protect our groundwater resources by requiring baseline characterization and grant much greater transparency to the impacted communities regarding the proposed mining activities," King said in a statement.

Environmental groups involved in the rulemaking said they, too, approved of the board's decision.

"The state mining board took decisive action to protect our water and land from uranium pollution," said Matt Garrington, program advocate of Environment Colorado, in a statement. "Today is a triumph for our land and water."

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