Attraction to Colorado grows with energy needs

Colorado’s mineral reserves, from molybdenum to uranium, will become increasingly more attractive to worldwide interests as the global economy grows.

That’s why, Colorado State Geologist Vince Matthews said, interest in the state’s molybdenum deposits won’t fade away.

When the nation needs energy and minerals, “They are not going to look to Kansas,” Matthews said Wednesday to about 25 people at the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s energy briefing.

Demand for natural gas won’t fade, he said, because even with the drilling now under way in the Rockies, the United States still is importing 16 percent of the natural gas the country uses.

Increasing demand for electricity will boost demand for the state’s significant uranium deposits, he said.

“Get ready,” he said, for development of more than 10,000 claims filed on federal land in 2007 alone.

The only thing holding back mining is the lack of uranium mill capacity, he said. The nation has only one mill, and it’s in Blanding, Utah.

Once uranium mining and production get in full swing, “We need to do it right this time,” he said. “We need to not spread mill tailings all over town.”

Sandy mill tailings were used frequently in building foundations and walls in Grand Junction and had to be removed in the federal uranium mill-tailings removal program.

A mill is proposed in the Paradox Basin of western Colorado, however.

To meet growing energy demand, Matthews said, competing suppliers need to work together rather than against each other.

“We need to quit the squabbling between the natural gas industry and coal,” he said.


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