Public may comment on Pinon Ridge
Even though it is not a regulatory requirement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is allowing an informal public review of how Energy Fuels Resources of Lakewood plans to dispose of waste at its proposed Pinon Ridge Uranium Mill near Naturita.
The EPA is poised to approve construction of a tailings impoundment area and evaporation ponds that can’t exceed 40 acres in size. In a statement, the EPA said it would address “significant adverse comments” about that area and would accept public comments about it until April 8.
EPA approval of the plan is contingent on the company filing a surface and groundwater monitoring plan.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment granted a radioactive-materials license to the proposed mill, but state officials have yet to approve engineering plans for the facility.
Last month, a Telluride-based environmental group, Sheep Mountain Alliance, filed suit in Denver District Court attempting to halt the proposed mill, claiming the department failed to act quickly enough on the permit.
The company, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Fuels of Toronto, said it plans to spend up to $150 million building the mill, which would process about 500 tons of ore a day. It also said it would employ about 85 workers when the mill reaches full capacity.
The jobs could pay as much as $75,000 a year.
The company also predicts up to 200 additional jobs could be created when uranium mines open in the region.