Uranium rock pile at mine a concern

State regulators have asked that a mining company operating in western Colorado move piles of uranium-bearing rock from outside a mine.

The Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety asked Cotter Corp. to move 300 to 500 tons of the rock from outside a mine on Monogram Mesa, either by processing it or putting it back inside the mine, so the ore isn’t exposed to air and water, division Director Loretta Pineda said.

The mine is one of about 10 that the division has inspected in San Miguel and Montrose counties.

“We did notice a couple of problems and asked Cotter to comply,” Pineda said. “Right now we’re just considering it a problem,” and no notice of violation has been issued.

Cotter has until Nov. 17 to move the ore, which sits about four miles from the Dolores River.

No message could be left at the Cotter Corp. phone number in Lakewood, and a spokesman for General Atomics, which owns Cotter, didn’t return a phone call immediately.

Containment measures such as berms already exist to prevent any of the ore from being carried by water from the storage site, Pineda said.

“We’re hoping to get cooperation here,” Pineda said. “If we don’t, we’ll move on to the next process.”


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