At the center of the longest-running mine battle in the West is the Red lady Mine in the Mount Emmons area above Crested Butte. Since 1977, locals and conservation groups have been fighting plans to mine deposits of molybdenum under the mountain. In February 2016, in a town and county memo, progress was made toward the proper funding of a water treatment plant protecting Coal Creek from existing mine drainage, and a permanent solution for a mine-free Red Lady.
Early coal and silver mining operations have left a legacy of mine drainage contamination. Currently, acid metal loaded drainage from the historic Keystone Mine costs approximately one million dollars a year to treat to the minimum level acceptable for discharge into Carbon creek and for use as the Crested Butte water supply.
In April 2011, Thompson Creek Metals Company terminated its option agreement with US Energy Corp on the Mt. Emmons Project near Crested Butte. However, U.S. Energy Corp remains as the sole owner of the mine property and has publicly stated that the company intends to continue efforts to develop a mine and find a new partner. US Energy Corp CEO Keith Larsen stated that they will be reaching out to potential investors. “In the meantime, we plan to move the project forward and have several permitting initiatives under way that we will build upon in the coming months and years," said Larsen.For more information on Red Lady Mine visit High Country Citizens Alliance.
View a short film about this Molybdenum mine in Crested Butte, Colorado by our friend Jeremy Rubingh at Snow Lion Productions!
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