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Mining laws should accomodate community wishes

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By Sherry Robinson

Green jobs get most of the attention these days, but lately there’s news from an old and not-so-green industry, mining. Here, we have good news, bad news, and no news.

Good news: Lea County will get its first new potash mine in four decades, Santa Fe Gold Corp. will begin processing ore near Lordsburg, and reclamation will begin soon at abandoned coal mines near Raton.

Bad news: With an Appeals Court decision in its favor, Hydro Resources is closer to mining uranium in the Church Rock area, and the state Mining and Minerals Division issued a permit for exploratory drilling for bertrandite in Red Paint Canyon near Monticello.

My determination of good or bad here depends entirely on whether the people of the area want these developments. The Hydro Resources people may be fine folks who call their mothers at least once a week and offer an enlightened plan of operation. But uranium mining in Navajo country must overcome some ugly history, and thanks to BP, the public is even less trusting of energy companies.


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