Union Milling withdrew its application with the Colorado Department of Reclamation, Mining and Safety to use a sodium cyanide solution at the Leadville Mill near U.S. 24 last week. A representative of Union Milling, Nick Michael, said the company plans to file an updated application in the future.
After asking for a 10-day extension of the application last week to address concerns that the Colorado Department of Reclamation, Mining and Safety (DRMS) had with the proposed operation, Michael submitted a brief letter to DRMS over the weekend requesting that the application be withdrawn.
“We decided that withdrawing the application was in our best interest after discussing our plans with the state,” said Michael. “They remain uncomfortable with our tailings facility and are concerned about groundwater impact, so we are currently making plans to try something different.”
Michael added that he and Leadville Mill owner Gary Knippa will meet with DRMS in Grand Junction next week for an “open discussion” about what is possible at the Leadville Mill. Michael said the milling operation is still not financially viable without the use of sodium cyanide, but that he hopes to develop a “path forward” at next week’s meeting.
Although Union Milling plans to resubmit an application in the future, Michael said it could be months before the company is ready to do so. In the meantime, Michael said construction at the Leadville Mill has ceased and that crews are buttoning up the facility and securing the tailings pond liners. Air and groundwater monitoring will continue in the interim, according to Michael.
Michael added that Union Milling plans to engage the Board of County Commissioners and Lake County Building and Land Use in developing the company’s next application before submittal to DRMS. “We are starting from scratch,” said Michael.