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Colorado: Partial mine cleanup at Sts. John this summer

Abandoned mine cleanup planned to reduce toxic heavy metals loading

Toxic devastation at the abandoned Saints John Mine in Summit County, Colorado.

Sterile ponds below the abandoned Saints John Mine.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — As the first hard rock silver mine in Colorado, the Saints John Mine, above Montezuma, helped fuel the state’s rush to riches during what’s now a legendary era.

But inevitably, the mines played out and the miners moved on. leaving behind a toxic legacy that’s not unique to Saints John. Across the West, thousands of streams and lakes suffered a similar fate.

Beautiful as Saints John Creek may look, it’s heavily polluted with cadmium, copper, lead and zinc that leaches into the water from weathered waste rock and from the underground workings of the former mine. Continue reading

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