by Debbie Bell
Canon City Daily Record
March 31, 2008
The Australian company that wants to explore for uranium in the Tallahassee area faces its first local test on Tuesday.
Black Range Minerals is seeking a Conditional Use Permit to continue drilling test holes on Taylor Ranch properties to determine the economic viability of mining and then milling the uranium. Fremont County Planning Commission will hear the request at its 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday evening.
If the board approves the CUP, the Fremont County Commissioners would schedule a formal public hearing, most likely on May 13.
If the permit receives the county’s consent, the exploration drilling phase would likely last between three and five years before the company could move to the next stage, recovering and milling the uranium.
The submitted plan asks for a 10-year period to drill an estimated 800 holes across 8,169 acres.
Managing Director Mike Haynes said BRM eventually could move more than half a million tons of uranium ore per year. Ultimately, BRM hopes to invest time, money and effort to create a technologically-advanced facility, including its own mill to process the uranium.
BRM began exploration drilling on more than 8,000 acres of leased public and private property last year, drilling about 70 test holes between 800 and 1,400 feet deep. Those holes were filled and then reclaimed.
The Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety had issued three Notices of Intent to conduct prospecting. Because of confusion surrounding county regulations, the company was not told a conditional use permit also was required.
County officials closed the operation until a permit could be issued. The CUP issue now before the Planning Commission would allow test drilling to begin again.
BRM hosted a public forum March 14 to bring transparency to the process. Dozens of residents turned out to question Haynes and other company officials.
Neighbors to the exploration site formed Tallahassee Area Community, Inc., explicitly to fight the exploration activity. The group said 44 people own property within 500 feet of the active exploration site that lies within the Taylor and Boyer ranches. The area is located generally south of CR 2 and west of the intersection of CR 2 and CR 21.
The Planning Commission will review the technical aspects of Black Range’s exploration plan, but will not conduct a formal public hearing. The board may elect to take limited public comment, but citizens are encouraged instead to submit concerns in writing.
Letters should be mailed or delivered to the Planning Department, Room 210, 615 Macon Ave., Cañon City, CO 81212.
Tuesday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. and will be held in the commissioners board room, LL-3, of the County Administration Building at 615 Macon Ave.
Debbie Bell may be reached at