A BIG, NOT SO SHINY CANADIAN GOLD MINE, LOCATED DIRECTLY OVERLOOKING OUR QUAINT CITY AND NEIGHBORING COMMUNITY!
SMOKE, NOISE, DUST, FIRE DANGER, 24/7 OPERATING SCHEDULE, LOSS OF A SCENIC MOUNTAINSIDE VISIBLE FROM CANON CITY AND THE SURROUNDING AREA, DEPRECIATION OF HOME VALUES, VISIBLE ENCROACHMENT ON THE CITY/COUNTY EFFORT TO PROMOTE TOURISM, A MINE TAILINGS HOLDING POND WITH A ONE MILLION TON CAPACITY LOCATED 600 FEET ABOVE THE ARKANSAS RIVER, WATER REQUIREMENTS WITH UNKNOWN CONSEQUENCES, AND GOODNESS KNOWS WHAT ELSE.
CANON CITY IS A PEACEFUL, SMALL TOWN LOCATED AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE ARKANSAS RIVER CORRIDOR AND DIRECTLY ADJACENT TO THE WET AND SANGRE DE CRISTO MOUNTAINS.
ZEPHYR MINERALS, LTd. IS A CANADIAN GOLD MINING COMPANY THAT INTENDS TO EXPLOIT IDENTIFIED GOLD DEPOSITS FROM THE ADJACENT MOUNTAINSIDE BY MINING THE DEPOSITS.
ZAP ZEPHYR IS A COLLECTIVE OF CONCERNED CITIZENS THAT DOES NOT WANT THIS UNNECESSARY AND ENVIRONMENTALLY DESTRUCTIVE ACT TO TAKE PLACE. FOREIGN CORPORATE GREED IS PITTED AGAINST THE CITIZENRY OF SMALL TOWN USA. IF A MINING PERMIT IS GRANTED WE WILL BE VISUAL WITNESSES TO OUR OWN SHORTSIGHTED FOLLY FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.
Gary Peterson: Opposition to backyard gold mine
By Gary Peterson
Special to the Daily Record
POSTED: 05/26/2018 07:14:07 AM MDT
"Zephyr who?" "What gold mine?" "I think I heard something about that!"
These are typical responses I have received over the past two or three years when the subject of a local gold mine has been brought up with local citizens.
Zephyr Minerals Ltd., Halifax Nova Scotia, has been working in our community for the past five years to establish a mining operation in our backyard, the foothills of the Wet Mountains, visible above and directly overlooking Cañon City.
This is a big deal, friends. The Department of Corrections, an economic mainstay of our community, has been slowly shrinking. Tourism, touting the scenic beauty of the Arkansas corridor, including the numerous venues available for hiking, biking, rafting, etc., is being actively promoted from a variety of sources within our city and county, all with the intent to lead our community into a new era of economic development. This is being done with local people using local resources with the support of city and county residents.
Sitting in direct opposition is the specter of a mining zone nearly three miles wide, east to west, encompassing underground and open pit (documented) mining, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for a period of four to six years (current plan). Visible from our community will be haul trucks on newly constructed mine roads, operating lights and dust, including noise from operating equipment and a processing plant.
Ecological damage is certain in the area being mined, in that the mountainside will be scrubbed to make room for the process plant, topsoil stockpile, vehicle parking (including a fire truck), outbuildings, waste rock storage area and a filtered tailing storage area. Please note that the filtered tailings area will be built to accommodate one million tons of tailings and waste, situated approximately 600 feet about the Arkansas River. What could possibly go wrong? Think Cotter! Did I mention anything about home values?
Reclamation, as a rationale designed to mitigate the ugliness of a gold mine, is a Red Herring! It brings to mind the catch phrase about putting lipstick on a pig. Zephry's purpose is to mine gold, profitably, in the most efficient way possible. That's their business. At some point, they will be finished, whether by exhausting the recoverable ore, a drop in gold prices, or investment money becomes insufficient, where after they will leave Fremont County and return to Nova Scotia.
Fremont County never will be finished with the mine. The mining scars and tailings will be with us in perpetuity, a constant reminder of our decision not to protect our investment future in tourism and the natural beauty that surrounds us. You can decommission a processing plant and put dirt in holes, but tailings and related issues become the purview of government oversight.
Again, what could possibly go wrong? It is interesting to note that the EPA recently announced that it will not issue a regulation to ensure that hard rock (gold) mining companies pay for the costs to clean up their mines when they are finished. "Undue burden" was the rationale.
Jobs! Hmmm, it sounds good but where is the beef? Information technology, as well as plant design and operation, apparently will be farmed out to English and Canadian companies, respectively. Employment of 75 to 125 people as stated in the recent Daily Record article? The technical report for the Zephyr project identifies 28 jobs for process plant labor and five general and administrative jobs, all of which are technical and/or specific skills needed for gold mining. "Jobs" means nothing without specific context. The same article quoted production costs of $560 per ounce of production (gold). This is fuzzy math. Since 2013, the industry standard has changed to more accurately reflect the true cost of gold mining, referred to "all-in sustaining costs," which approximately doubles the stated production cost of running a mine.
Simply stated, there is little to nothing that a backyard gold mine has to offer our community apart from future woes, some real, some waiting to become real. A middle ground does not exist in this case. There either is or there is not a mine overlooking our community. This is a discussion that needs to take place in the light of day, with residents weighing in with our elected Fremont County Commissioners and other affected agencies who operate with our tax dollars. The best interest of our community is at stake.
Gary Peterson is a Michigan State University graduate who served as a Marine Platoon and Company Commander with service in combat in Vietnam. He subsequently spent an additional 30 years working as a law enforcement officer for the Department of Justice, Department of Treasury and Homeland Security. He and his wife, Linda, retired to Cañon City in 2006 to enjoy its ambient beauty.