NOT ABOUT MONEY? State board: ‘Economics’ not factor in Mt Taylor restart decision
By Kathy Helms May 11, 2018
Cibola County Bureau firstname.lastname@example.org
SANTA FE — It will be several weeks before the New Mexico Mining Commission decides whether the state Mining and Minerals Division director erred in granting Rio Grande Resources’ request to reactivate the Mount Taylor Mine. While there are many factors to be weighed, economics is not one of them, according to the panel.
The Mining Commission met Monday and Tuesday in Santa Fe to hear arguments on a petition filed by the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment and Amigos Bravos, which challenged the director’s Dec. 29 decision.
The organizations contend that Rio Grande Resources, owner of the mine, has requested three standby periods since the New Mexico Mining Act was enacted in 1993, and that its most recent request to return the mine to operating status in 2014 is a ruse to avoid cleanup while waiting for uranium prices to recover and make mining viable.
Gabriel Wade, attorney for the Mining and Minerals Division, asked the Mining Commission to eliminate any discussion of economics because the rule that talks about a mine coming off standby does not mention an economic analysis being required, and is therefore irrelevant, he said.
Eric Jantz, an attorney with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center which represented the groups, argued that the Mining Act itself referenced the extraction of a salable or usable commodity. “The Legislature clearly contemplated having some input into the economic viability of an operator,” he said.