CJK Milling’s application to the Colorado Department of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, which was withdrawn last month, stated that their intent was to process 400 tons of mine tailings per day. This material would have been transported in one eight-hour shift seven days a week. This equates to approximately 40 tandem axle trucks crossing Lake County and Leadville per day. To accomplish this in the proposed eight-hour time frame would mean one truck every 12 minutes traveling up and down Seventh, Fifth or Monroe streets.

Citizens and county and city officials should be proactively concerned regarding the increase in heavy truck traffic through the east side of Leadville and the mining district. These concerns should include but not be limited to safety of the residents, noise in residential areas, wear and tear on roadways and interruption of recreational activities.

— Safety: This volume of heavy truck traffic is inherently dangerous, especially in the winter when we have six to eight-foot piles of snow on the corners of each intersection restricting visibility. Which of us want a truck driving by every 12 minutes?

— Wear and tear of roadways: 40 heavy truck trips per day on county roads and city streets will cause significant increases in road maintenance costs. Who will pay for this?

— Recreational activities: The intent, per the permit application, is to be a 365-day operation. What impact will the increase in traffic have on recreational activities?  Are we going to plow historically groomed county roads on the east side to facilitate these trucks? Who will pay for this?  

At the mill’s open house, it was stated that the Tailings Store Facility (TSF) can hold 60,000 tons of concentrated hazardous material — less than half a year’s production. When asked where the excess material will be stored it was stated that they will build more TSFs. This equates to 2.6 million tons of hazardous material over the 18-year life of the mill. Who is going to ensure these concentrated hazardous material TSFs are properly maintained and monitored after 2040 when the milling company is gone?

What increased load will be put on two existing water treatment facilities that currently process contaminated water from the east side mining district? The applicant also states that no process water will be discharged from the mill. If so, what are they going to do with the 25-30,000 gallons of then contaminated water they intend to buy from Parkville water district every day?   I wonder.

The county, city and citizens of Leadville/Lake County need to look hard at this proposal, determine their true agenda and be cognizant of the contradictory statements being made as a sales pitch to the community. I am all for responsible reclamation and industrial development for Lake County however, from what I have read in the application, and been told by the mill’s representatives this project does not meet the definition of “responsible.”

George Benson


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