Renewed mining preferable to Superfund

I read the Herald’s April 23 lead story, advocating a Superfund site for Gladstone.

Let me lay out some facts. The Silverton Caldera is one of the most mineralized (metal-laden) areas on planet Earth. A “problem” exists because these naturally occurring metals have been dissolved in acidic solutions and have caused the contamination of the Animas River – some natural and some the result of old, inefficient mining and milling methods.

Humans consume more metal products than ever in history. Most of that metal is imported from the Third World where there are no environmental standards, and near slave labor is “employed.” Development of alternative-energy solutions will require unimaginable quantities of these metals to be mined for use in electricity generation, storage and transmission. Consumption of local products is desirable.

Doesn’t it make sense to support a local industry that produces these much-needed metals? One that employs ethical methods to build solar collectors and their storage units as well as bicycles and Subarus? Doesn’t it make sense to remove those naturally occurring metals from our mountains for this use, with the added bonus of eliminating them as pollution sources? Doesn’t it make sense to create hundreds of local jobs that pay in the upper five to even six digits in annual salaries?

Modern mining and milling methods result in nearly 100 percent recovery (removal) of these polluting metals. Just think, a high-paying job while living, biking and skiing in the high San Juans – one that helps to create a cleaner environment.

Mark Mahlum

Bayfield

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