County receives DRMS staff’s recommendation on expanded mining
DRMS staff recommendation
Posted: Friday, August 11, 2017 9:42 pm
by Lynda James, Senior Correspondent, The Flume
Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety issued a recommendation to the Mined Land Reclamation Board July 31 to deny High Speed Mining’s application to convert its 110 Construction Materials Mining Permit to a 112 Hard Rock Mining Permit.
The application, if approved, would expand the mining of eight acres to mining 41.4 acres.
The state permit application is for land owned by High Speed Aggregate that was the subject of a Park County rezoning hearing July 27. (See The Flume Aug. 4, front page article).
At the applicant’s request, the decision on the rezoning from residential to mining was continued until Aug. 17.
The July 31 DRMS letter stated the 112 mining permit application "does not minimally satisfy the requirements of section 34-32-115(4) of the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Act."
More specifically, CRS 34-32-115(4)(c)(I) states "No part of the proposed mining operation, the reclamation program, or the proposed future use is or may be contrary to the laws or regulations of this state or the United States, including but not limited to all federal, state, and local permits, licenses, and approvals."
The DRMS letter stated that it reserves the right to supplement, amend, modify or clarify the recommendation.
The DRMS letter stated because the zoning conflict was not resolved by the decision date, High Speed has not demonstrated to the division’s satisfaction that the operation is no longer in violation of county regulations.
The DRMS letter referred to the county’s June 22 letter that lifted the county’s June 8 cease and desist order for mining on residential property.
The county’s June 22 letter had four conditions. It stated violations would result in the cease and desist being reinstated.
One condition was that High Speed did not further delay or seek continuances of the scheduled public hearings to rezone the residential property to mining.
Another condition included mining operations were limited to Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The third condition by the county was that no mining activities other than the washing plant could occur on the portion of the property that is zoned residential.
The fourth condition was all equipment, facilities and structures except the washing plant and vehicles must be removed from the residential zoned portion of the property.
The DRMS letter discusses six other issues that were raised by opposing individuals and commenting agencies.
1. That 2.4 acres outside the mining permit boundary were disturbed. A $35,567 fine was assessed, of which $30,000 was suspended because an application for the 112 mining permit was submitted. The remaining $5,567 fine was paid.
2. The Mined Land Reclamation Board upheld DRMS’s decision to deny High Speed’s request to maintain and utilize ponds located outside of the approved permit boundary.
Park County Development Services Director Sheila Cross confirmed Aug. 7 that the pond built outside the current mining permit boundary remains on the property.
3. Compatibility with nearby residential zoned property and the local tourism economy is outside the division’s authority.
It is the county’s responsibility to address issues of land use, hours and/or days of operation, tourism and impacts to the local economy and impacts to quality of life.
4. The Gold Rush show or Redemption Gold, LLC contracting with High Speed to mine the property is allowed, but High Speed remains responsible to stay compliant with the mining permit.
5. Sediment released into the Middle Fork of the South Platte River is not an issue because water will not be discharged into the river. Berms will be maintained to prevent stormwater runoff from reaching the river.
6. Impacts to wildlife are expected during mining. High Speed said it will work with Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife to incorporate DPW recommendation to reduce impacts. A buffer of 100 feet between operations and the river will reduce impacts to aquatic life.
The DRMS July 31 letter stated that a pre-hearing conference on the mining permit change will be held in Fairplay Aug. 9 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Fairplay community center located at the fairgrounds.
The mining permit application hearing will be heard by the State Mined Land Reclamation Board Aug. 23 and 24. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. at 1313 Sherman Street, Room 318, Denver, Colo.
A live audio broadcast of the hearing can be heard at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDrrAO8bIPFlOwce-yH1fWA.