There is another energy boom re-emerging in Western Colorado other than oil and gas. This mineral has had a more anomalous history than any other in the region and has left a presence that will last for centuries. With the demand for nuclear power rising and prices for this ore more than quadruplicating, uranium mining is again gearing up.Last week, the Department of Energy (DOE) closed its public comment time on its plans to open more areas in San Miguel, Mesa and Montrose counties for uranium development. In its report, the DOE offered three options for review: to expand uranium production, to keep mining levels the same or halt the production altogether.
The DOE’s preferred option allowed for 38 leasing tracks, extracting roughly 90,000 tons of uranium and vanadium monthly. Increasing this program would put as many as 300 trucks a day on San Miguel County roads. The ore would be hauled to mills in Blanding, Utah or Ca