Miners seek jackpot


Despite the depressed market for uranium, Green Mountain Mining Venture hopes to hit a jackpot in south central Wyoming. The companies spearheading the operation, U.S. Energy and Kennecott Energy, have asked the Bureau of Land Management for permission to construct, operate and reclaim the Jackpot uranium mine on public land. The mine sits on the flanks of Green Mountain, a popular recreation site and important wildlife habitat, says Dan Heilig of the Wyoming Outdoor Council. The council originally expressed concern over the amount of groundwater the mining operation would use, but has since met with the mining companies and together developed a plan for monitoring groundwater levels to protect the mountain's springs and riparian areas. Because the companies plan to ship mine waste to another non-operational open-pit mine instead of building a new pit on Green Mountain, Heilig says, "There really won't be much of a footprint on the surface." His group is still concerned about plans for new roads to accommodate the constant flow of large trucks taking ore to a nearby mill. In addition, some worry that the project is doomed to bust given the weak uranium market. The BLM released the final environmental impact statement for the project Dec. 22 and will accept public comments until March 1. For a copy of the EIS or for more information, contact Rawlins BLM official Larry Kmoch at 307/324-7171.