Alabaster quarry seeking to expand operations
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The U.S. Forest Service says it will carefully evaluate a plan for alabaster mining on the White Banks mining claims near Avalanche Creek in the Crystal River Valley.
Originally staked by Mystic Eagle Quarry, LLC, the White Banks claims have been leased to Elbram Stone Company, establishing a valid existing right under the General Mining Law of 1872.
In recognizing this valid right and accepting a plan of operations for review, the Forest Service has a responsibility to ensure that surface operations associated with the mining are conducted, where feasible, to minimize adverse environmental impacts on National Forest surface resources. The Forest Service will analyze and disclose the environmental impacts of the proposed action, along with any reasonable alternatives, before approving the White Banks Plan of Operations.
Elbram Stone has proposed several changes from past operations including: a request for year-round operations that would require snow removal on National Forest System Road 310; mining marble and gypsum in addition to alabaster; drilling a well on-site to provide an estimated 1000 gallons per day of water; construction of a by-pass road around the mine; and construction of a log office building to replace the existing mobile bath house. Information on the mining proposal and the associated documents are online here.
“The Forest Service recognizes Elbram Stone Company’s rights under the General Mining Law of 1872. However, the Forest Service also has a responsibility to manage and protect the resources of the National Forest. We will document and disclose the environmental consequences of this proposal through the appropriate environmental document,” said District Ranger Scott Snelson. “Public feedback on the plan of operations is an integral part of our environmental analysis. We will provide the public ample opportunity to participate in this process.”
Feedback and comments on the new plan of operations would be most helpful if received by Friday, March 18, 2011. Written comments can be addressed to: White Banks Project, c/o Skye Sieber, Project Leader, 0094 County Road 244, Rifle, CO 81650, FAX: (970) 625-2532; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Persons commenting should include: 1) name, address, telephone number, and organization represented, if any; and 2) specific facts and supporting reasons for District Ranger Scott Snelson to consider. Names and contact information submitted with your comments will become part of the public record and may be released under the Freedom of Information Act.
To request additional information regarding this proposal, please contact Skye Sieber at (970) 625-6864 or Olivia Garcia, Locatable Minerals Program Manager at (970) 945-3220.