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Old 11-18-2009, 05:44 PM
2,253 posts, read 5,850,658 times
Reputation: 2615


According to a news report I just heard, a Canadian outfit wants to mine uranium in Weld County. It seems like they want to pump a lot of water into the ground, with ‘in situ’ leach mining, to flush out the uranium. They also question whether present Colorado environmental laws concerning water purity are too strict, perhaps, as they would prefer, illegal. They also do not feel public comment warranted in this process.

So I looked into this further.

Turns out there has not only been uranium mining in Colorado, no surprise, but any number of small test mines in both Weld and Larimer counties, for two. With one of these in Weld county, "The aquifer was degraded by radioactive materials, ammonia, nitrate, molybdenum, selenium, and boron. There was a 10-fold increase in one type of radiation.” [1] In example, at a former Gunnison uranium mill the groundwater now exceeds limits for alpha radiation, radium, and uranium; they had to construct an alternate water system. [1] "Uravan, CO., an active mining town in the last uranium rush, became a ghost town and Superfund hazardous waste site." [1]

Interest in uranium has risen and waned, with a rush of sorts now in progress. In other words, this isn't a question of just one proposed mine, although this one would be quite large, but of every area where uranium exists subject to the same interest and possible environmental destruction. Colorado ranks third in uranium reserves, behind Wyoming and New Mexico. [2]

The mining company in question is apparently Powertech (USA), although my understanding the guys behind this really Canadian. This has also been going on for a lot longer than I ever knew, with far broader consequences. These guys just showed up on people's doorsteps in 2007 saying they owned 5,700 acres of mineral rights and intended to begin uranium mining. What they want to do will dramatically impact the underlying aquifer for the worse: "The aquifer we're sitting on runs through Sterling, Fort Collins, Loveland, Boulder, Greeley - there's 27,000 (agricultural) wells on it."[2]

Powertech has recently purchased an additional 3,585 acres, with plans to expand the scale of their proposed uranium mining even further.[3[

1) 'Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction'
nunnglow.com - Uranium Mining Activity in Larimer and Weld Counties: Then and Now

2)' Uranium worries in Weld County'
'The Rocky Mountain News'
Uranium worries in Weld County : Local News : The Rocky Mountain News (http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_5535876,00.html - broken link)

3)Weld County: Powertech acquires more land for uranium development
Weld County: Powertech acquires more land for uranium development Coyote Gulch

4) (not cited) 'REJECTED OR ACCEPTED? Powertech spins problems with Dewey-Burdock'
Exposing Powertech Uranium Corp's plans for mining near Nunn, Weld County, Colorado
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Old 11-18-2009, 05:53 PM
Location: Greeley, Colorado
631 posts, read 1,360,915 times
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O.o i live less than 5 miles from BOTH counties. that's a scary thought right thar
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Old 11-18-2009, 07:36 PM
20,346 posts, read 37,876,690 times
Reputation: 18152
We discussed energy and Uranium (U) at an investment club meeting the other year. World requirement for U is 150 millions pounds per year, but current world production is only 100 million pounds per year. The difference is being made up by reprocessing former USSR weapons materials, but that source runs out about 2010 or so.

Meanwhile, there are 42 new nuke power plants on the drawing boards in the USA, and 40 each for Russia, China and India over the next two decades. Gotta mine a lot of U to meet that growing demand...with oil becoming more scarce, per the book "The Oil Factor."
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Old 11-18-2009, 08:16 PM
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 26,308,024 times
Reputation: 6816
I think they were mining it at one time in La Plata County but stopped because it was uneconomical. Some was on ranch land my family owned and I've always been curious whether the mineral rights conveyed when they sold their land. Just never had time to look into it and since they stopped mining it, figured it wasn't worth it.
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:39 AM
Location: Nebraska
4,222 posts, read 7,009,741 times
Reputation: 6603
There are newer types of reactors on the drawing board that will use other types of radioactive metals other than Uranium. Reduced half life times is one of the big benefits. However nothing is done quickly in the Nuclear business. Everything is studied and regulated over and over before anything is done.
Think Thorium for one.

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