Mine Claims Crowd Towns

Publication: Salt Lake Tribune

Author: Thomas Burr

03/12/2008 - Mining activity is encroaching on cities and towns in Utah because of an outdated 19th-century law, potentially posing serious problems for residential areas, an environmental group said Tuesday. 

The number of mining claims within five miles of cities and towns in the state shot up almost 150 percent in the last five years, the Environmental Working Group says, from 2,786 to 6,793.

Overall, there are now 34,516 mining claims in the state as of January 2008 compared with just 8,723 in 2003, the group says in a new study conducted in part with the Pew Campaign for Responsible Mining. That's a dramatic increase likely pushed by a boost in prices for gold, silver, copper, uranium and other metals, the group says.

"The data show that claims and communities are on a collision course in the West," said Jane Danowitz, director of the Pew Campaign. "This potential crash is due in large part to the nation's frontier-era mining law, which places few restrictions on where and how mining can take place on western public lands." 

Read the full article Mine Claims Crowd Towns on the Salt Lake Tribune's Web site.

Read the report and explore the data on the Environmental Working Group's Web site.

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