A BIG, NOT SO SHINY CANADIAN GOLD/HARD ROCK 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 VERTICAL 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/HARD ROCK EXPLORATORY/ MINING COMPANY THAT INTENDS TO EXPLOIT IDENTIFIED GOLD/HARD ROCK (ZINC, LEAD, SILVER) DEPOSITS FROM THE ADJACENT MOUNTAINSIDE BY SELLING/ 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.
Now is a time for reflection! For the past 10 years, Fremont County has been enduring the direct effects of a sustained attempt to create a working gold mine (or any other hard rock mine that is potentially profitable) by Zephyr Minerals Ltd., headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Zephyr Minerals actively engaged with Fremont County in 2012. They publicly labeled Fremont County as a “mining-friendly community,” which is an interesting assumption on their part. Who provided them with that idea? Was it an effective sales program coupled with the sale of shares to “movers and shakers” within the community? Was the citizenry polled?
As recently as 2018, the Fremont Economic Development Corp. welcomed Zephyr Minerals as an effective partner, a good corporate citizen and neighbor. How could they know that in the absence of a substantive track record?
In 2012 (October), Zephyr Minerals held shares valued at $.20 per share (U.S.). In January, Zephyr Minerals’ stock shares were valued at $.14 per share (U.S.). Zephyr has claimed buried riches in our backyard that yet remain unproven. The Dawson mountainside is inherently difficult to mine given its geological structure, yet they continue to present a dream mining scenario for the near future, one which has the substance of cotton candy.
Zephyr touts upwards of ninety mining jobs which would constitute a medium-sized mine. Research shows that an operational medium-sized mine (trucks, mining equipment, processing plant, etc.) would cost in the realm of hundreds of millions of dollars to build and operate. Zephyr Minerals possesses approximately $883,000.00 in operating capital.
A boon for the community? How about the unstated realities: Ninety employees, jobs that few if any of which would go to locals given their lack of underground mining experience; mostly male, relatively young in a city with a serious housing shortage and with the attendant social services challenges? Let’s consider the damage to vegetation; industrial lighting; 24/7 noise; dust; fire; six and a half tons of explosive going off each week; tailings dump with potential catastrophic failure consequences; an intrusion into established hiking and biking trails; and hydrology issues too extensive for inclusion in this writing (read Dr. Steven H. Emerman’s report entitled “Potential Groundwater and Surface Water Impacts from the Proposed Dawson Gold Mine, Fremont County, Colorado, USA.” The entire report can be viewed by searching this title).
To date, their efforts have been willingly supported by our County Commissioners through their authorization of Conditional Use Permits for exploration. These permits encompass 3,574 acres, a landmass of seven and a half miles, extending from a point east of Copper Gulch Road to a point directly southwest of Canon City. This is the same landmass that is home to bighorn sheep, deer, mountain lions, bear, etc., as well as being a conduit for the prevailing and often high-intensity winds that commonly sweep toward Cañon City. Fire danger alone should be sufficient reason for denying any further permitting.
Additionally, Zephyr’s exploratory permit intrudes itself directly through the Lower Grape Creek Wilderness Study Area; the Colorado State Lease area; directly north of the Grape Creek Proposed Wilderness area; just south of Temple Canyon Park; and directly south of a Grape Creek Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Current federal efforts to establish a Wilderness Area proximate to the permitted area would be derailed by the presence of an active gold mine. If the approval process for a mining permit is brought to Fremont County, a vote by two of our County Commissioners could cause the destructive effects stated above.
A Cañon City Daily Record column written by Commissioner Debbie Bell, published on May 2, 2018, entitled “Investing in Fremont County” contained the following commentary. Bell stated, “We [Fremont County] were not immune to the boom-and-bust cycles that naturally occur in the oil and mining industries. Unfortunately, 150 years of such activities left a legacy of land and water impacted by petroleum and other hazardous substances.” She goes on to extoll receipt of a three-year $600,000.00 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to assess and prioritize sites for cleanup and continued assessment.
Bell further stated, “Locally, potential project sites might once have hosted mining for gold, iron, gypsum, coal or uranium leaving behind abandoned mines, ore mills, gravel pits, electrical transformers and unpermitted dump sites.” One hopes that Commissioner Bell will remain true to her forward-thinking values if/when Zephyr Minerals attempts to sell its ugliness in Fremont County by garnering the final support of our commissioners for a permitted gold mine.
Let’s put all of this into context. The issues presented herein all lead to an actionable goal by Zephyr Minerals Ltd., which is to explore for and establish a medium-sized operational gold mine within the confines of Fremont County and adjacent to Cañon City, estimated to have a three to five-year mine life. Please consider the long-term consequences of this short-term plan to extract local resources before returning home to Canada. Our citizens are led by local leaders, but sometimes local leaders need a push in the right direction. Let’s push together!
Gary Peterson is the chairman of the Royal Gorge Preservation Project, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation created to preserve the natural beauty of the Royal Gorge region from environmentally destructive human activity.
In October 2012, Zephyr Minerals Ltd. acquired control of the Dawson Gold Project and
began a continuation of the many years of previous exploratory activity that now includes
a progression of Conditional Use Permitting encompassing in excess of 3,500 acres
running east and west across central Fremont County. Zephyr executives were welcomed
into our community by local citizenry whose mission it was to look after and protect the
economic development of Canon City/Fremont County. Zephyr subsequently voiced its
assumption that their exploratory/mining project would proceed in a mining friendly
community. That assumption was not shared or validated with the citizens of Fremont
County in any meaningful way.
Zephyr Minerals’ financial resources have been limited to cover exploratory activities
only. Gold resources in the easternmost exploration section (Dawson), just south and
west of Dawson Ranch, do not appear to have shown a meaningful increase since 1990
when Jascan Resources Inc. reported finding 121,000 gold ounces, a resource estimate
not to be relied upon. Zephyr reports a finding of 116,000 – 121,000 ounces, not
necessarily cumulative with Jascan’s findings. Even at todays elevated gold prices, these
findings would not cover the start-up costs of an operational, profitable gold mine.
Internet searches suggest start-up costs of hundreds of millions of dollars, minimally, for
a small to medium sized underground commercial gold mine, including processing
capacity. Zephyr possesses nowhere near the resources needed to establish an
operational mine and is poorly positioned to interest investors to accommodate their
Re: March 21, 2017 Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA); National Instrument 43-
101 Technical Report prepared for Zephyr Minerals Ltd. by Golder and Associates, Ltd.,
Canada, regarding the Dawson Property. Golder states the following findings: Page 183,
– Personnel – “Hiring highly skilled rock miners with mining experience is highly
recommended; however, some positions could be filled using less experienced miners.
Lead hands, jumbo operators, scoop operators, production miners, and bolters would
need to be skilled miners, while truck drivers and nippers could be less experienced.”
The PEA predicted 33 mining jobs, 28 miners and 5 administrative personnel. This
estimate was based on exploratory findings that are consistent with those that currently
exist. In his February 14, 2021 op-ed to the Canon City Daily Record, Will Felderhof,
Executive Chairman of Zephyr Minerals Ltd., stated that Zephyr envisages employing up
to 90 individuals and that “Zephyr has received and continues to receive applications by
young people for employment in this venture.” Local “young people” would constitute
an insignificant cadre of workers, since nearly all miners would have pre-existing skill
levels. This from a Canadian exploratory company with no intact resources to physically
The issue of city and county road usage by mine haul trucks has yet to be addressed by
Zephyr Minerals Ltd. has declared, in unequivocal terms, that ‘their’ mine will be
underground. This differs from their initial plans to target a portion of the Dawson Gold
Project’s eastern section (Windy Gulch and Windy Point) for both open pit and
underground mining. Paragraph 184.108.40.206, Safety and Environment, p. 187 of the PEA
states that “Zephyr decided to omit the pit from the Preliminary Economic Assessment
until constraints, such as the mining lease boundary could be expanded, or until the
potentially mineable resource could be increased.” Zephyr’s stated commitment to
underground mining may be technically accurate, as far as it goes, but is clearly qualified
and contradicted when viewed in its total context. Regarding Zephyr’s commitment to
underground mining, we draw your attention to Enclosure 1. This January 2020,
interview excerpt is highly suggestive that there are significant ore recovery problems
within the Dawson section that remain unaddressed in Zephyr’s forward-looking
predictions. The entire interview can be viewed on YouTube and/or on the Zephyr
Regardless of the mining method, clear dangers to mining personnel; animal habitation;
wind contaminants; fire; usage of scarce water resources; a mine tailings dam that can
never be dismantled (in this case, a tailings dam that is positioned 600 vertical feet above
the Arkansas River); etc., all contribute to the reasonability of stopping Zephyr’s effort to
mine our back yard for a product (gold) of which only seven to eight percent is used for
industrial purposes. Approximately seventy to eighty percent is used for jewelry and the
rest used for coins, personal holding, medals and awards, etc. Is it worth denigrating our
community for the economic ambition of a Canadian exploratory/mining corporation?
STOCKHOUSE: A Canadian financial portal for small cap investors:
Stockhouse stock graphics displayed Zephyr’s graphics from inception in the
spring/summer of 2011 to the spring of 2016 to be in an overall steady decline, averaging
an overall value in the area of 15 to 20 cents per share. There was an approximate five
cent increase over the next 18 months when Zephyr was actively soliciting for investors
in Fremont County and other areas overall. Beginning around May 1, 2020, their stock
spiked to about $.82 cents per share (US) based on Zephyr’s prediction of a “Broken
Hill” type of mineral find (lead, zinc and silver) in their exploratory area (El Plomo)
which is central within their exploratory area and is bisected by Grape Creek. Four
months later the stock plummeted to a value of ten to twelve cents per share when their
exploratory drill target (self admittedly) did not produce the results they had hoped for.
Their stock price is now somewhat steady at around 15 cents per share.
SIMPLY WALL STREET: An American financial services company that distributes
world-wide investment analysis.
Simply Wall St’s Executive Summary’s risk analysis, updated 3/11/2021 reports:
Earnings have declined by 15.8% per year over the past five years
Does not have a meaningful market cap
Shareholders have been diluted in the past year
FUNDAMENTALS: overvalued portfolio with concerning outlook
Simply Wall St states, regarding future growth, “But as Zephyr Minerals has not
provided enough past data and has no analyst forecast, its future earnings cannot be
reliably calculated by extrapolating past data or using analyst predictions. This is quite a
rare situation as 97% of companies covered by Simply Wall St do have past financial
To fairly judge the accuracy of Zephyr’s public commentary, including projections,
plans, estimates, future events, etc. one is advised to review “Management’s Discussion
& Analysis For The Year Ended December 31, 2020 (MD&A). The Forward-Looking
Information paragraphs of this document provides excellent clarity in this regard. This
document is posted on the Canadian System for Electronic Document Analysis and
Retrieval (SEDAR). The information is eye-opening, in that it addresses the
authenticity/reliability of Zephyr’s commentary.
In the “Going Concern” paragraph of this same document (MD&A) Zephyr states that “If
the Company is unable to raise additional capital in the future, the Company may need to
curtail operations, liquidate assets, seek additional capital on less favorable terms and/or
pursue other remedial measures.” The paragraph entitled “Other Risks and Uncertainties” is too lengthy to be quoted herein but provides an accurate and detailed account of the risks and uncertainties of Zephyr’s proposed operational intent.
Zephyr Minerals Ltd. filed their year-ended December 31, 2020 audited annual financial
statement with SEDAR on April 26, 2021. The author of this document, Chartered
Professional Accountants Wasserman Ramsay, was retained to represent Zephyr and is
headquartered in Ontario, Canada. In an opening paragraph entitled “Material
Uncertainty Related to Going Concern” Wasserman Ramsay states “that as of December
31, 2020, the Company has incurred losses resulting in an accumulated deficit of
$4,626,014. and that . . . these events or conditions . . . indicate that a material uncertainty
exists that may cast significant doubt on the Company’s ability to continue as a going
concern. Our opinion is not modified in respect of this matter.”
Tourism is currently the most progressively active source of income and business growth
within Fremont County. It has growth potential for decades and beyond. Should we
trade this forward-looking opportunity for the permanent scarring of a temporary hard
rock mine? Compatibility is an illusion.
Our County Commissioners hold the key to deciding if Fremont County will be opened to
hard rock mining. To date, they have taken a permissive stand regarding Zephyr’s march
towards obtaining a mining permit. Their responses to opposition have been muted. The
Dawson Ranch HOA completed a survey of 502 property owners in April 2020, wherein
86% of respondents voiced overwhelming opposition to Zephyr’s mining plans. The
County Commissioners would do well to take similar interest in the positions held by the
constituents they serve.
A few local leaders opened the door to Zephyr’s exploratory/mining intent, hopefully
with the best of intentions. It is now the job of the local citizenry and existing
community leadership to determine the value of continued support for Zephyr’s mining
ambition. Is a hard rock mine with an abbreviated life span and the potentially disastrous
environmental effects that it drags with it worth the dubious short-term gains claimed by
this Canadian Corporation? It is your decision.
THE ROYAL GORGE PRESERVATION PROJECT
Excerpt from the January 17-18, 2020, Metals Investor Forum interview in
Vancouver, B.C., with John Kaiser, Independent Analyst and Founder, Kaiser
Research Online, and Loren Komperdo, CEO of Zephyr Minerals, Ltd.
Subject: Dawson Gold Project @ 10:00 minutes into an 11:37 second interview
regarding gold resources in the Dawson section of Zephyr’s exploratory claims.
KAISER: “Now in the Dawson area you’ve got a couple hundred thousand ounces of
high grade . . . in which . . . but the limitation there is that the dip of the system is into the
mountain, so chasing it deeper is impossible, cost prohibitive, ah, in the Green Mountain
area (western most permitted exploratory area) would that same problem apply so that
you can only chase it down a couple hundred meters, or is the orientation . . . (Komperdo
interrupts)” KOMPERDO: “No, not at all. The Green Mountain area is much more
settled topography, so in fact a lot of it, in fact about half of it, is just flat ground so we
will be able to drill at significant depth without any problem of running up the mountain
and having that structural topography problem that you’ve got at Dawson.”
Interview ends directly thereafter.
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.