Mining

Damages in Colorado mine spill will take years to tabulate

DURANGO, Colorado (AP) — The spill of toxic wastewater from an abandoned gold mine high in Colorado's San Juan Mountains caused untold millions in economic disruptions and damages in three states — to rafting companies, Native American farmers unable to irrigate, municipal water systems and possibly water well owners. And largely because the federal government inadvertently triggered the release, it has vowed to pay the bill.

That bill could be years in the making. Attorneys general from Colorado, New Mexico and Utah vowed to ensure citizens and towns are compensated for immediate and long-term damages from the spill. But Colorado's attorney general, Cynthia Coffman, acknowledged it could be years before the full impact is known.

Experts see long-term calamity from Colorado mine spill

DURANGO, Colorado (AP) — The toxic waste gushing from a Colorado mine and threatening downstream water supplies in at least three states will continue to be dangerous whenever contaminated sediments get stirred up from the river bottom, authorities said Wednesday, suggesting that there's no easy fix to what could be a long-term calamity.

The immediate impact of the 3 million gallon spill was easing as the orange-tinted contamination plume becomes more diluted on its way into Lake Powell along the Utah-Arizona border. But the strong dose of arsenic, cadmium, lead and other heavy metals is settling out as the wastewater travels downstream, layering river bottoms with contaminants sure to pose risks in the future.

Navajo Nation says it feels brunt of Colorado mine leak

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Russell Begaye stared into a hole in the side of a Colorado mountain, watching as yellow water contaminated with heavy metals poured out and raced down a slope toward a creek that feeds rivers critical to survival on the nation's largest Native American reservation and in other parts of the Southwest.

At the Gold King Mine, Begaye, president of the Navajo Nation, couldn't help but see the concerned faces of his people — the farmers who no longer had water for corn crops and the ranchers who had to scramble to get their cattle, sheep and goats away from the polluted San Juan River.

Navajo president: EPA says spill cleanup could take decades

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Townspeople affected by the millions of gallons of waste spilled from an abandoned gold mine and now flowing through their communities demanded clarity Tuesday about any long-term threats to their water supply.

Colorado and New Mexico made disaster declarations for stretches of the Animas and San Juan rivers and the Navajo Nation declared an emergency as the waste spread more than 100 miles downstream, where it will reach Lake Powell in Utah sometime this week.

Officials downstream from Colorado mine spill demand answers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Local officials in towns downstream from where millions of gallons of mine waste spilled into a southwest Colorado river are demanding answers about possible long-term threats to the water supply.

Colorado and New Mexico declared stretches of the Animas and San Juan rivers to be disaster areas as the orange-colored waste stream made its way downstream toward Lake Powell in Utah after the spill Wednesday at the abandoned Gold King mine near Silverton, Colorado.

Residents demand health answers as mine spill fouls rivers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Farmers, towns and tribes slammed water-intake gates shut as a sludge-laden plume from a Colorado mine spill rolled down principal rivers in the desert Southwest on Monday, prompting local officials and families to demand answers about possible long-term threats from heavy metals borne along by the spill.

Colorado and New Mexico declared stretches of the Animas and San Juan rivers to be disaster areas as the orange-colored waste stream estimated to be 100 miles long churned downstream toward Lake Powell in Utah after the spill Wednesday at the abandoned Gold King mine.

Thousands of mines with toxic water lie under US West

DENVER (AP) — Beneath the western United States lie thousands of old mining tunnels filled with the same toxic stew that spilled into a Colorado river last week, turning it into a nauseating yellow concoction and stoking alarm about contamination of drinking water.

Though the spill into the Animas River in southern Colorado is unusual for its size, it's only the latest instance of the region grappling with the legacy of a centuries-old mining boom that helped populate the region but also left buried toxins.

EPA: Colorado mine waste spill larger than first reported

DENVER (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency says the mine waste spill into Colorado waters is much larger than originally estimated.

But an EPA official said Sunday that she doesn't believe wildlife will suffer significant health impacts from the wastewater from an abandoned mine in southwestern Colorado.

EPA confirms Colorado mine spill contains heavy metals

DENVER (AP) — The mustard-colored muck that spilled from a Colorado mine and surged into a river contains heavy metals including lead and arsenic, federal environmental officials confirmed Friday, but they didn't immediately discuss amounts in the water or health risks.

The spill also contained cadmium, aluminum, copper and calcium, the Environmental Protection Agency said. During a public meeting in Durango, EPA Regional Director Shaun McGrath did not mention whether the elements posed a health hazard but said local authorities were right to close the Animas River to human activities.

Virginia company sues state in hopes of mining uranium

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A mining company that wants to tap one of the world's largest uranium deposits sued Virginia on Wednesday to end a decades-long state moratorium on mining the radioactive ore.

Virginia Uranium Inc., which puts a market value of $6 billion on the deposit, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court to have the 1982 ban lifted so it can begin mining the 119 million-pound deposit near the North Carolina line.

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