Wavering economy drives gold price upward; more mining proposals possible
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — With the price of gold surging to near $1,800 per ounce, it’s no wonder that there’s talk of new gold mines opening in Colorado. One of the latest proposals is for a small combination placer gold, sand and gravel mining operation on five acres on an 80-acre BLM parcel near Fairplay.
A BLM comment period on the proposed mine just ended. A draft environmental assessment will be posted at this BLM website.
The mine would operate between five and 10 years, shutting down for four to five months during the winter. The mine depth is estimated at 25 feet although the total depth of the deposit is estimated at 120 feet. The applicant indicated in the submissions that there could be a plan amendment submitted in the future to increase the pit depth to 50 feet.
Mining would begin in the northeast corner of the parcel with processing equipment set up on the western end of the site. Mining would begin on the east side of the site and progress westward. The overall pit area dimensions are estimated at 275 by 250 feet or about 1.5 acres. Processed material would stockpiled in the western portion of the project area for sale or later use in reclamation.
Access would be developed off of Thompson Park Road. The access road to the site would be approximately 1,050 feet in length by 30 feet wide. An 18” culvert would be installed at the entry point next to the county road.
The mine operator proposes hauling water to the site until he can get a well permit. The mine would use about 1,000 gallons per minute and would rely heavily on reuse of water. Ground water is not expected in the site area and there are no surface streams on the site.