This week, the High Country Conservation Advocates released Red Lady Update: Breaking News, an article regarding new plans to fund the water treatment plant and address a permanent solution to keep Red Lady (Mt. Emmons) mine-free forever. Nearly 40 years of controversy surrounding protecting Red Lady from mining may be coming to an end. On Tuesday, February 16th a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was proposed that would outline a plan for the future. The Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment , the Town of Crested Butte, Gunnison County and the mining company Freeport-McMoRan are working together with two main goals. The first is to develop a realistic plan for funding the water treatment plant. The plant, which treats contaminated water from the Keystone Mine before it enters Coal Creek and the Crested Butte water supply, is necessary for ensuring that mine contaminants are not polluting the waterways and the drinking water supply. The MOU requires that Freeport-McMoRan fully fund the operations of the water treatment plant for the next two years until a more permanent solution can be developed. The second issue is protecting Mt. Emmons from mining the molybdenum deposit- an issue that the Crested Butte public has largely opposed for many years. Freeport-McMoRan has also stated that they intend to dispose of the ore body, private lands and mining claims. This action, which hasn’t happened yet, would ensure that the threat of mining the Red Lady would be laid to rest forever.
Thanks to the HCCA for providing the Red Lady update and for being an integral part of this mission.