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Issues at Operating Uranium Mines and Mills - Colorado, USA   flag

(last updated 18 Dec 2023)


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State orders cleanup of several idle uranium mining sites in southwestern Colorado, after protests of watchdog group

A mining company with a long history on noncompliance with reclamation requirements has been ordered to clean up four semi-abandoned uranium mines in southwest Colorado. An attempt by Gold Eagle Mining Inc [of Montrose, Colorado], to delay closure of the mines for another five years was successfully challenged by a watchdog group. The mines, have been idle for three decades, despite a state law that requires uranium mines to be reclaimed and closed a maximum of 10 years after mining ceases.
Three of the mines are located in Slick Rock, directly adjacent to the Dolores River. A fourth mine is located on the slopes above the picturesque Paradox Valley. None of the mines has an environmental protection plan in place, as required by a 2008 state law. Colorado State Rep. Don Coram, who represents the 58th District in the Colorado House, is president of Gold Eagle Mining Inc., which leases the mines from the Department of Energy and operates them under a permit from the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining & Safety.
 On April 16, the Information Network for Responsible Mining (INFORM) filed protests with the state over Gold Eagle Mining's request for a new, five-year period of standby status known under Colorado law as "temporary cessation." In the protests, INFORM outlined the history of noncompliance of Gold Eagle Mining with the requirements of state law and its mining permits, including the lack of stormwater controls to prevent radioactive contaminants from leaving the mine sites. In the face of INFORM's appeal, Gold Eagle Mining withdrew its request, resulting in the state's reclamation order. The state order requires the company to submit final reclamation plans and clean up the mines before May 31, 2014. The plans must address how unreclaimed waste piles and ore storage areas will be handled, how polluting drainage will be controlled on site, how adits and shafts will be closed, and revegetation standards, among other requirements.
The order to Gold Eagle Mining stems from the state's implementation of HB 08-1161, a state law passed in 2008 that required, for the first time, all uranium mines to submit environmental protection plans and meet current standards for operating, including reclamation (view details). Gold Eagle Mining failed to submit completed environmental protection plans as required on Oct. 1, 2012, despite numerous requests from the state to do so. When Gold Eagle did eventually submit new plans, they were deemed to be inadequate. Gold Eagle Mining then requested another five-year period of temporary cessation, which would have allowed the mines to remain unaddressed.
The three mines at Slick Rock are the Burros, the Ellison and the Hawkeye, located next to the Dolores River in western San Miguel County, and are frequently viewed by boaters and other recreationists. The JD-5 Mine is located on Monogram Mesa in western Montrose County. (Summit County Citizens Voice May 30, 2013)

State Rep. Don Coram is taking steps to clean up and shut down four uranium mines he owns, making him among the first uranium mine operators in Colorado to call it quits for now and restore the land to its pre-mined condition. The action comes after several years of legal pressure by activists on the state and federal government to shut down the old uranium mines that dot the landscape of San Miguel and Montrose counties. (The Cortez Journal June 10, 2013)

Board allows Western Colorado uranium mines to stay idle without need to commence cleanup

Environmentalists failed in their attempt Wednesday (Apr. 17) to force the cleanup of several long-dormant uranium mines on the Western Slope. Decades ago, Colorado's uranium belt north of Dove Creek and west of Telluride provided high-paying jobs and much of the fuel for the country's early nuclear-weapons arsenal. But the mines have been mostly shuttered since the early 1980s, with only brief production from a few mines from 2004 to 2006. Activists at the Information Network for Responsible Mining say it's time to clean them. They targeted two companies - Cotter Corp. and Energy Fuels - to ask state mining regulators to deny them permission to put their mines on a five-year inactive status. But the Mined Land Reclamation Board voted 4-2 Wednesday to allow the companies to go on inactive status, which means they will not have to commence cleanup. (Durango Herald Apr. 17, 2013)

Cañon City mill (Colorado)

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Schwartzwalder mine, Jefferson County

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Decommissioning Cañon City uranium mill and leaking Schwartzwalder Mine under new ownership

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Opposition forms to license transfer of leaking Schwartzwalder Mine and decommissioning Cañon City uranium mill to new owner

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Cotter's defunct Schwartzwalder uranium mine contaminating groundwater near reservoir

Cotter to use bioremediation to clean contaminated mine water at defunct Schwartzwalder mine: Cotter Corp. is preparing to brew a multimillion-gallon uranium cocktail in a mine shaft west of Denver - an innovation aimed at ending a threat to city water supplies. If all goes well, mixing molasses and alcohol into a stream of filtered water pumped from the mine and discharged down Ralston Creek, and then re-injecting that mix into Cotter's 2,000-foot-deep Schwartzwalder mine, will immobilize uranium tainting the creek. Bacteria inside the mine will devour the molasses and dissolved uranium, creating solid uranium particles that will settle at the base of the mine, Cotter vice president John Hamrick said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved Cotter's project and state regulators were reviewing it. Such "bioremediation" would save Cotter tens of millions of dollars as an alternative to perpetually pumping out and treating mine water laced with uranium - which reached concentrations as high as 24,000 parts per billion inside the mine shaft, well above the 30 ppb federal drinking water standard. (Denver Post Mar. 22, 2013)

State concludes settlement deal with Cotter Corp. to stop groundwater contamination at defunct Schwartzwalder mine: Colorado has made legal peace with Cotter Corp. in a push for quicker cleanup of a mine leaking uranium into a creek that reaches a Denver Water reservoir. The latest test data show that highly toxic water in the Schwartzwalder mine's main shaft seeps underground into Ralston Creek, which flows to Ralston Reservoir.
A settlement deal requires Cotter to pump and treat millions of gallons of water and lower the level to 150 feet below the top of that 2,000-foot-deep shaft. This is intended to prevent uranium - in concentrations up to 1,000 times the health standard - from contaminating water supplies. Cotter also must provide $3.5 million in financial assurance money to ensure cleanup of the mine west of Denver is done and pay a civil penalty of $55,000. Another $39,000 in penalties is to be waived.
The deal, approved by state regulators, ends Cotter's lawsuits challenging state orders to clean up the mine and the creek. A state judge ruled in favor of regulators and Cotter appealed the decision. (Denver Post Oct. 3, 2012)

Cotter ordered to build bypass pipeline at its Schwartzwalder Mine to stop uranium contamination of water: Uranium-laden water from a contaminated mine is still flowing into Ralston Creek, leading state regulators Wednesday (Sep. 28) to demand that the mine's owner divert creek water away from its facility and find the source of the contamination. Although the pollutants exceed state standards, the health department said treatment methods already in place will keep the public safe.
Cotter Corp., which owns the defunct Schwartzwalder Mine in Jefferson County, has until Oct. 7 to submit a design- and-construction plan for a bypass pipeline. That pipeline is to be "substantially completed" by Jan. 31. Additionally, Cotter is required to submit a plan and time schedule for the "aggressive removal or containment of all groundwater and surface water pollutant sources" at the mine. (Denver Post Sep. 29, 2011)
> Download CDPHE release Sep. 28, 2011 (PDF)
> Download District Court Decision, Sep. 30, 2011 (PDF)
Cotter Corp. will comply with state orders to remove contaminated water from its defunct Schwartzwalder uranium mine west of Denver, the company's president said Wednesday (Oct. 12). He did not commit to a timetable for that cleanup, though a creek-diversion pipe around the mine should be done by Jan. 31.
State mining regulators, meanwhile, were discussing possible next steps in their standoff with Cotter and moved to increase the bond money Colorado is holding from Cotter to guarantee a cleanup if the company walked away from the mess.
Denver District Court Judge Robert Hyatt recently ruled in favor of state mining regulators in one of two lawsuits Cotter filed challenging orders to clean up the Schwartzwalder mine. That decision clears the way for removal of contaminated mine water and the posting of sufficient bond money to protect Ralston Creek, which flows into a Denver drinking-water-supply reservoir. (Denver Post Oct. 13, 2011)
The Colorado health department's water quality control division says Cotter completed a pipeline Tuesday (Apr. 10) to divert up to 8 cubic feet [227 litres] per second of creek flows past the mine. The Colorado health department had ordered Cotter to divert water from the creek away from the Schwartzwalder Mine so that pollutants wouldn't get into the creek water. Ralston Creek flows into a Denver Water reservoir that provides drinking water. (CBS Apr. 12, 2012)

State board imposes additional $39,000 penalty against Cotter Corp for failure to clean up contaminated mine water at Schwartzwalder uranium mine: The Mined Land Reclamation Board today (Nov. 18) found that Cotter Corp. violated state mining law by failing to comply with the Aug. 11 Board order to draw water from the defunct Schwartzwalder uranium mine west of Denver and treat it, and to submit an appropriate financial warranty to cover this action, said Loretta Piñeda, director of the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety.
The board also imposed the $55,000 in penalties contained in the August order, and added an additional penalty of $39,000 for its failure to take any action since then.
Denver Water's testing has detected elevated levels of uranium in Ralston reservoir and just upstream. The latest tests from the creek showed 580 parts per billion of uranium, up from 566 ppb in October 2009, spokeswoman Stacy Chesney said. (Denver Post Nov. 18, 2010)

Cotter Corp. sues Colorado over cleanup order for contaminated mine water at Schwartzwalder uranium mine: Cotter Corp. has sued a state board, claiming regulators exceeded their authority in ordering a cleanup of a contaminated Cotter uranium mine in Jefferson County.
The lawsuit, recently filed in Denver District Court, accuses Colorado's Mined Lands Reclamation Board of abusing its discretion when it ordered Cotter to pump out and treat uranium-tainted water that inspections have shown to be rising toward the rim of Cotter's defunct Schwartzwalder mine. The mine is northwest of Golden along Ralston Creek, upstream from a Denver Water reservoir that supplies drinking water to 1.3 million metro-area residents.
At issue is whether state regulators had enough evidence to order the cleanup and impose fines. Cotter is seeking a judge's order to reverse both of those actions. (Denver Post Oct. 7, 2010)

Cotter Corp. defies State orders to clean up contaminated mine water at Schwartzwalder uranium mine: Cotter Corp. is defying state orders to clean up its contaminated uranium mine west of Denver and refusing to pay fines for failing to do so. State mining regulators' latest inspection has found that uranium-tainted water is rising toward the rim of Cotter's defunct Schwartzwalder mine upstream from a Denver Water reservoir. State regulators on Monday (Sep. 20) were moving to increase a $55,000 fine and schedule another enforcement hearing in November. They said unless emergency powers can be invoked, state law leaves few other options.
Since April, Cotter, a subsidiary of San Diego-based General Atomics, has faced repeated state orders to pump and treat toxic water filling the mine, northwest of Golden along Ralston Creek. The creek, which flows into Denver Water's Ralston Reservoir, contains uranium levels as high as 310 parts per billion - more than 10 times the 30 ppb health standard for drinking water. (Denver Post Sep. 21, 2010)

Cotter Corp. performs only partial cleanup of contaminated mine water at Schwartzwalder uranium mine: Cotter Corp., which had agreed to remove tainted water from its closed uranium mine northwest of Golden, has chosen to pump and clean only surface ponds, drawing a new warning from the state. The now-defunct Schwartzwalder mine is suspected of having contaminated water outside the 2,000-foot shaft and inside it. The company, however, is treating only what are called alluvial ponds and not the water inside the mine. "Pumping just from the alluvium will not be sufficient to mitigate the uranium-contamination problem," said Loretta Piñeda, Colorado director of mining, reclamation and safety. "(State regulators) have ordered Cotter to pump and treat from both the alluvium and the mine pool." State officials recently fined Cotter $55,000, then suspended all but $2,500 on the condition that Cotter initiate a cleanup by Aug. 31. That could include any action, such as positioning the right equipment at the mine. (Denver Post Aug. 27, 2010)

Water cleanup started at closed Schwartzwalder uranium mine: The owner of a defunct uranium mine leaking pollution along a creek that flows into a Denver Water reservoir has launched a cleanup as ordered, state officials confirmed Thursday (July 8). Cotter Corp. installed a system that can pump and treat up to 50 gallons per minute of contaminated water from inside its Schwartzenwalder Mine, west of Denver in Jefferson County. (Denver Post July 9, 2010)

Cleanup set for uranium-tainted water at closed Schwartzwalder uranium mine Operators of a defunct uranium mine accused by the state of contaminating groundwater and a nearby creek have agreed to begin a cleanup by the end of July. "We intend to comply to the best of our ability," Cotter Corp. vice president John Hamrick said. Cotter will pump and treat tainted water from inside its Schwartzwalder mine in Jefferson County, then seek a state permit before releasing treated water back into Ralston Creek, Hamrick said. Cotter was responding to a cease-and-desist order issued June 1 by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Fines as high as $10,000 per day could be imposed. (Denver Post June 15, 2010)

State rejects plan for water cleanup of Cotter's defunct Schwartzwalder uranium mine: State regulators Thursday (May 20) directed Cotter Corp. to treat water from its nonoperating uranium mine in Jefferson County to keep contamination from reaching Ralston Reservoir, a drinking-water supply for Denver Water and the city of Arvada. The state Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety rejected the protection plan Cotter submitted last month and instructed the Denver-based company to submit a water-treatment plan within two weeks, the agency said in a news release.
The mine closed in 2000, and Cotter dismantled its treatment plant in 2002, according to the agency. Drinking water remains safe, Denver Water and Arvada authorities said, because uranium has been removed by water-treatment plants. The latest water-quality tests showed that Ralston Creek below the mine carried as much as 390 parts per billion of uranium, 13 times higher than the safety standard. Cotter had proposed a man-made wetland and a chemical filter to capture uranium leaking from the mine. (Denver Post May 21, 2010)

State health officials reject Cotter Corp.'s proposal to reduce uranium in groundwater: Colorado health officials say Cotter Corp.'s plans to reduce uranium in groundwater at a mine near Golden are not acceptable. Cotter has submitted a plan to state mining regulators to reduce uranium levels in Ralston Creek from the closed Schwartzwalder Mine. The water flows into a reservoir that supplies some of Denver's drinking water. The Water Quality Control Division of the state health department told mining regulators in a memo Monday (May 10) that Cotter's plan doesn't reduce uranium in the water to acceptable levels. (Denver Post May 12, 2010)

A defunct uranium mine in Jefferson County is contaminating groundwater near a reservoir, but government regulators and mine executives have yet to settle on a plan for cleanup. Uranium concentrations in groundwater 30 feet beneath the brim of the Schwartzwalder Mine exceed the human health standard for uranium by more than 1,000 times, according to state records reviewed Thursday (Apr. 15). Unhealthy concentrations also were detected in Ralston Creek, which eventually enters Denver Water's Ralston Reservoir. The reservoir supplies water to Denver and Arvada. Denver Water managers say no uranium contamination has entered the drinking-water supply.
State officials said they want the mine's owner - Greenwood Village-based Cotter Corp., a subsidiary of General Atomics - to submit by Monday (April 19) a plan for dealing with the contamination at the mine. Colorado mining regulators warned Cotter in July "that water quality degradation at the Schwartzwalder Mine is critical and may be approaching conditions requiring emergency response." Three months later, state officials rejected an initial Cotter protection plan as inadequate, declaring "a potential hazard to human health, property and the environment."
Neither Cotter nor the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment , which is responsible for water quality, notified Denver Water. "It would have been nice to know," said Brian Good, Denver Water's manager of operations and maintenance. Denver Water now will increase testing for uranium, Good said, calling on Cotter to clean it up. Because Denver's Moffat water-treatment plant is closed for maintenance, no Ralston Reservoir water currently enters Denver's drinking-water system, Good said. "Our water is safe," he said, "but it's a little bit troubling that (uranium) is coming into our reservoir in those concentrations." (Denver Post Apr. 16, 2010, emphasis added)

Fire at Schwartzwalder uranium mine

Emergency crews were responding to a report of a "medium-sized" fire at the Schwartzwalder Mine in Jefferson County. (MyFox July 10, 2007)

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West Slope Project

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Anfield Energy Inc. acquires nine uranium/vanadium properties in western Colorado from Cotter Corp.:
> View here

Cotter mines in southwest Colorado

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Anfield Energy Inc. acquires nine uranium/vanadium properties in western Colorado from Cotter Corp.: On Jan. 8, 2019, Anfield Energy Inc. announced that it has signed an Asset Purchase Agreement with Cotter Corporation (N.S.L.), an arm's-length party, to acquire nine past-producing uranium/vanadium properties in the Montrose and San Miguel Counties of Colorado, collectively known as the West Slope Project.

Mining regulators order Cotter Corp. to address heaps of toxic uranium ore at dormant western Colorado mine: State mining regulators have found heaps of toxic uranium ore at a dormant Cotter Corp. mine in western Colorado and are moving to prevent contamination of land and water near the Dolores River. The regulators ordered Cotter to build berms around the 300 to 500 tons of uranium ore by Nov. 17 and to remove the uranium by early next year. "The worry is that an inactive mine can have maintenance and upkeep problems. It could cause polluted runoff," said Bob Randall, deputy director of Colorado's Department of Natural Resources . "What we want Cotter to do is clear it. They've got to put the berms up. They've got two weeks to do it." Regulators also have ordered Cotter to submit an environmental protection plan.
Separately, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment officials are poised to renew Cotter's water-discharge permit for the mine, requiring compliance with current federal standards, said Steve Gunderson, the agency's water-quality director. (Denver Post Nov. 4, 2010)

A battle over how state environmental regulations apply to western Colorado uranium mines is heating up in Montrose County's West End, where Cotter Corp. plans to re-open four uranium mines sitting dormant since 2005.
The Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board christened three of Cotter's dormant mine sites near Naturita as "designated mining operations," or "DMOs," requiring Cotter to comply with strict environmental regulations and create an environmental protection plan. Cotter is appealing the board's decision because complying with stringent environmental regulations would be a burden on its mining operation and require that it put more effort into planning at the mine, said Glen Williams, Cotter's Western Colorado Manager of Mining. (Grand Junction Sentinel Jul. 10, 2007)

Cotter Corp. closed six uranium mines in the Uravan area last week and laid off 49 workers, company officials said. Richard Cherry, president of Cotter Corp., said in a statement that he is hopeful production will resume after the company revamps its operations. (Grand Junction Sentinel Nov. 8, 2005)

The Cotter Corp. this week opened one new Western Slope uranium and vanadium mine and said it plans to open three more in 2005.
The company reopened several mines in Montrose County near Nucla and Naturita in August 2004 after more than a decade of dormancy, and with the recent renewal of the company's license to operate its Cañon City milling operation, Western Slope ore will be what keeps the mill busy. (Grand Junction Sentinel Dec. 16, 2004)

Denison mines (CO)

> See also: Processing of uranium ores at White Mesa uranium mill (Utah)

J-Bird mine, Montrose County

> View mine info

On Feb. 2, 2009, Bluerock Resources Ltd. announced it has notified the underlying vendors of the J-Bird Uranium Mine and the Cone Mountain Uranium Mine that it is returning these properties to them as the Company has not met required option payments due to market conditions. The company has ceased permitting and development on its projects.

On Oct. 7, 2008, Bluerock Resources Ltd. announced a two week shutdown of US operations while the company works to ensure adequate working capital to allow for continued development and production at its US uranium mining operations.

On April 29, 2008, Bluerock Resources Ltd. announced the first production of uranium development ore at the J-Bird Mine, Montrose County, Colorado. Uranium ore will be stockpiled at the J-Bird Mine and then transported to Denison Mines' White Mesa Mill under the Company's Ore Purchase and/or Toll Milling Agreement.

Sunday mine complex, San Miguel County

> View deposit info

Western Uranium & Vanadium Corp. plans to build uranium mill in Utah

(the ore mined at the Sunday mine complex will provide feed material to this facility)
> View here

BLM seeks scoping comments on proposed consolidation of five mines of Sunday Mine Complex into single operation plan

The Colorado Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Tres Rios Field Office (TRFO) is seeking input on Pinon Ridge Mining LLC's [a subsidiary of Western Uranium & Vanadium Corp. ] proposal to update and consolidate operations into a single plan at the Sunday Mine Complex (SMC) for five existing uranium/vanadium mines in San Miguel County, Colorado.
The complex consists of five existing, adjacent underground uranium and vanadium mines including -- Sunday, Carnation, St. Jude, West Sunday, and Topaz Mines. The Topaz Mine does not have an approved BLM operating plan.
> Submit scoping comments by September 14, 2022.
> View BLM press release Aug. 15, 2022 .
> Access: Scoping documents (BLM)

Western Uranium restarting idle Sunday mine complex

On July 6, 2021, Western Uranium & Vanadium Corp. announced that it is preparing for the resumption of mining activities at the Sunday Mine Complex.
On Oct. 12, 2021, Western Uranium & Vanadium Corp. announced that active mining operations have resumed at the Sunday Mine Complex.

Western Uranium buys uranium on the spot market rather than restarting idle Sunday mine complex

On June 2, 2021, Western Uranium & Vanadium Corp. announced that the company has executed a binding agreement to purchase 125,000 pounds of natural uranium concentrate [48 t U] at the current market price.

State Board approves standby for Sunday Mine Complex

On Nov. 2, 2020, Western Uranium & Vanadium Corp. announced that the Company's temporary cessation (standby) request for the five mine permits comprising the Sunday Mine Complex (SMC) was approved by the Mined Land Reclamation Board (MLRB) in a unanimous vote. Under Colorado Rules and Regulations, an operator is required to apply for temporary cessation after a lapse of mining activities for a period of 180 days.

State regulator to hold hearing on permitting status for the Sunday Mines

The Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (CDRMS) has set a hearing for late March to consider the status of the Mining Permits for the Sunday Mines.
As previously reported, the Sunday Mines were reopened with active mining being conducted during the Summer of 2019, with ore being mined and stockpiled underground in the mines. The mined ore will soon be removed and stockpiled at the pre-engineered and approved ore pads which are currently under construction. Additional ore will be mined and stockpiled in early March. (Western Uranium & Vanadium Corp. Feb. 6, 2020)

Operations at Sunday Mine Complex to restart for assessment of vanadium resource

On May 14, 2019, Western Uranium & Vanadium Corp. updated the status of the Sunday Mine Complex (SMC) Vanadium Project. Western will start the Project at two mines - the Sunday Mine and the St. Jude Mine. The first underground work is expected to commence in June.
After mine opening, vanadium ore samples will be delivered to vanadium processors and users around the world.  The focus of the current Project is to define the high-grade vanadium deposit. Underground drilling, in addition to bulk sampling, will be used to determine the vanadium resource. Historically, the SMC yielded a 6-to-1 vanadium-to-uranium ratio.

DNR demands corrective action on radiation hazard from stockpile at idle Sunday mine

Uranium concentrations at parts of the surface of the 67,200 square feet (6,243 square meter) stockpile at the Sunday mine site were found to exceed the 500 ppm, or 0.05% by mass threshold value. The Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS) of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) therefore orders the mine owner to identify corrective action to be taken, such as relocation to an appropriate underground location, removal to an appropriate offsite disposal site or processing facility, or construction of an earthen cover of 12 inches (30.5 cm) thickness minimum to prevent windblown erosion.
> Download: DNR letter to Piñon Ridge Mining LLC, Jan. 23, 2019 (223kB PDF)

Plan for reopening of Sunday Mine complex announced in view of rise of vanadium market price

On Oct. 25, 2018, Western Uranium & Vanadium Corp. announced its intention to re-open the Sunday Mine Complex. Western is commencing this program with the goals of upgrading the vanadium resource and monetizing these "already significant vanadium resource holdings."

Planned use of ablation technology at Sunday Mine Complex

State regulator determines that proposed uranium ore beneficiation by ablation at Sunday mine requires milling license: On December 1, 2016, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued a determination that the proposed ablation operations at the Sunday Mine by Black Range Minerals must be regulated by the Department through a milling license pursuant to Part 18 of the Regulations:
"The Department has determined that the proposed ablation operations at the Sunday Mine by Black Range Minerals must be regulated by the Department through a milling license pursuant to Part 18 of the Regulations because the proposed ablation operations at the Sunday Mine meet the regulatory definition of source material milling in Section 1.2.2 of the Regulations: an "activity that results in the production of radioactive material that meets byproduct material definition (2)." The wastes from the proposed ablation operations at the Sunday Mine meet the definition of byproduct material in Section 1.2.2 of the Regulations because they are produced by the concentration of uranium processed primarily for its source material content. However, because these wastes, appear to possess significantly less radiological and hazardous risk than typical uranium mill tailings, the Department believes that it may be appropriate to consider alternative disposal methods to those required in Part 18, Appendix A of the Regulations. In accordance with Part 18, Appendix A, such alternative disposal methods require approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)."
> Download related documents (CDPHE)

CDPHE halts ablation trials until completion of regulatory evaluation:
"At this time the Department is conducting an evaluation of the applicability of the Colorado Radiation Control Act to uranium ablation technologies. This is a first step before any licensing for the use of ablation technologies, if needed, would take place. This evaluation has or will include requests for additional information from uranium ablation proponents and a public stakeholder process. [...]
Until the Department determines whether its regulations and the Colorado Radiation Control Act allow for uranium ablation without a license, no one may conduct a uranium ablation activity in Colorado unless the total quantity of source material used and possessed as part of and resulting from the activity meets the qualifications for a source material general license to use and transfer not more than 6.82 kg (15 pounds) of source material at any one time."
> Download CDPHE Notice regarding use of uranium ablation technologies , Sep. 24, 2015 (80k PDF)

Ablation units to be constructed at Sunday Mine Complex: On Sep. 16, 2015, Western Uranium Corp. announced that, after a successful operational demonstration was undertaken on Sep. 11 and 12, 2015, the company now plans to construct additional production ablation units to employ at its fully permitted Sunday Mine Complex.

> For the use of ablation technology, see also: Hansen project


Mining at Sunday Mine complex to restart in 2016

On July 13, 2015, new owner Western Uranium Corp. announced that it expects production at the Sunday Mine complex to begin in 2016. Initially, milling will take place at the Energy Fuels Inc. White Mesa Mill.

BLM halts increase in mining at Sunday uranium mine, demands collection of more site data

Environmental groups won a victory against the revving uranium industry last week when the US Department of the Interior halted an increase in mining near Naturita and sent the mining company to the field for more data.
In a letter remanding a standing approval for expansion - won over the winter - Lynn E. Rust, the deputy state director in the BLM's Energy, Land and Minerals division, told Denison Mines Corporation that "This mine permit analysis should rely on the best available data, not simply on the data submitted, if better data can readily be obtained."
Sheep Mountain Alliance and other groups filed a complaint with the state, asking for the approval to be stricken down or, at least, remanded. They got the latter. Mining under the initial permit is allowed to continue, "but updated monitoring should occur under that dated permit," Rust wrote. (Telluride Daily Planet Sep. 25, 2009)

Sunday mine placed on standby

On March 18, 2009, Denison Mines Corporation announced that it has placed the Sunday mine on stand-by, as the cost of mining and processing this ore is above current spot prices.

BLM approves extension of uranium mining at Sunday mine complex

The Bureau of Land Management inked an approval for expanded uranium mining in the Big Gypsum Valley on Jan. 30, 2009, agreeing to a proposal brought forth from Denison Mines Corporation, a Canadian company.
New activities at the Sunday Mining complex - which lies near Naturita - will include the expansion of waste rock areas and the addition of vent holes along with access roads and additional drilling. The existing land disturbance at the complex is about 80 acres; the proposed new surface disturbance would affect about 20 additional acres of public land in the area. According to the BLM, the Denison Mines Corporation acquired the entire mining complex - it was multiple mines before - and will run it as one operation. Jamie Sellar-Baker, the Dolores Public Lands Office associate manager, signed a Finding of No Significant Impact and Decision Record for the project, meaning its existence will have “no significant impact” on the environment surrounding it.
Hilary White, executive director of Sheep Mountain Alliance was disappointed with the decision to allow expansion. (Telluride Daily Planet Feb. 4, 2009)
Sheep Mountain Alliance (SMA) joined a petition that challenges the approval and asks for higher-up review, which could stay or derail the project. The filing disputes the BLM's review, calling it inadequate on environmental and socioeconomic levels. Among other charges, SMA says the environmental review fails to address water-quality impacts, and the petition also calls for a cumulative review of uranium mining's impacts across the region - something environmentalists say has yet to be done. (Telluride Daily Planet Mar. 7, 2009)

BLM invites comment on extension of uranium mining at Sunday mine complex

The Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comments on the environmental assessment for a proposal to expand uranium and vanadium mining at the Sunday Mines in San Miguel County, southwest of Naturita. The complex includes five mines: the Sunday, West Sunday, Carnation, St. Jude, and Topaz mines. These underground mines are located within a two-mile area in Big Gypsum Valley. (Telluride Watch Nov. 19, 2008)
Public comment on the proposal will be accepted through December 5, 2008.

> Download Environmental Assessment (BLM)

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