Residents Protest Proposed New USA Mining Operation, While Officials Express Alarm

Residents have expressed opposition to a proposed new mining operation,…

Residents have expressed opposition to a proposed new mining operation, and Salt Lake County officials have expressed worry and issued a warning from environmental health organizations.

As stated by the mayor’s office, a conditional use permit for the mine would be required, and this would be submitted by the Greater Salt Lake Municipal Service District.  A small mining operation of 20 acres or fewer on a land at mile-marker 132 on Interstate 80, a few miles east of the mouth of Parleys Canyon, was announced earlier this month by Tree Farm LLC.  The property is at mile marker 132 on Interstate 80, a few miles east of Parleys Canyon.

According to Tree Farm LLC’s application, 13 things were included under the “operation and reclamation methods” section, including the removal of all trash or debris from stream channels and the prevention or reduction of erosion.

According to the NOI, technicians would first drill “blastholes” into the rock and then explode explosives in the holes they had created. After that, the blasted debris would either be pushed down the slopes or transported to a jaw crusher, where it would be broken into dust and recycled. Officials with the company predict that they would disrupt 634 acres of land and remove more than 500,000 tons of rock per year for the first three to five years of operation. When fully operational procedures, employees will mine more than two million tons per year if all goes according to plan.

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According to the idea, Tree Farm would not just leave a large hole in the ground when they are finished. It contains measures to conserve and re-deposit soils and plans to segregate topsoil from mineable material, among other things. A total of approximately 330,000 yards of topsoil will be laid aside by the corporation hoping that it may be retrieved later on.

This specific stretch of property is not within the authority of the city of Salt Lake City. However, the Department of Public Utilities continues to receive a large number of calls.

“A lot of our people may be worried about the aesthetic effect as well as the impact on animal habitat,” said Department Director Laura Briefer. “We understand their concerns.”

Under Briefer, Salt Lake City does have legal ownership rights to a portion of the water contained within that watershed. Moreover, she has several concerns regarding the impact of this quarry on their supply of limestone. For example, she would want to know precisely how much water is required for routine mining activities to plan accordingly. And how much of it would be utilized to protect pollutants from entering the atmosphere.  Briefer also feels that any mining operation of that scale would negatively influence the groundwater in the surrounding area.

No-interest letters for both a small and significant mining business, according to officials with the Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining (UDOGM). According to them, for small mining NOIs, there is often no “public comment time.” They are, however, still collecting public comments by email at this time.

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