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Keystone Mine remediation presentation well attended

Water treatment and tailings work ahead

by Katherine Nettles

The Mt. Emmons Mining Company (MEMC) held an open house last week on August 30 at the Crested Butte Town Hall to present the public with detailed plans about the reclamation projects beginning at the former Keystone (lead, zinc and silver) Mine.

Staff from the mining company, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Colorado Department of Health and Public Health (CDPHE), and the United states Forest Service were there with maps and infographs that detailed the plans for the next two months of work in the area. The mine is located on County Road 12, three miles west of the town of Crested Butte.

MEMC manager Dave Gosen was there to answer questions as well. The company will begin remediation efforts to the mining site this month, having completed safety audits, a water quality study of Coal Creek, and an evaluation of the tailings area. The initial work to be done is on private property, treating the mine waste tailings areas that flow into Coal Creek.

The open house had a group of displays set up to present different aspects of the work MEMC has planned. “These [charts] describe how to reduce the metals running into Coal Creek,” said Tara Taffy of the BLM, who stood at one section of posters to answer questions. Other work to improve and repair the water treatment plant will take place this fall.

Jim Telle, communications representative for MEMC, said this was the first opportunity the mining company had to hold an open house since acquiring the site in 2014. He said discussions with Gunnison County and Crested Butte town officials had introduced the concept as a way to better inform residents of the reclamation efforts. “The presentation was welcomed, well received, and positive,” said Telle, who estimated about 50 attendees.

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