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Thar’s gold in them thar Silverton hills; lead, zinc and a...

In 2001 when Aaron Brill was gearing up to open his extreme skiing mecca of Silverton Mountain, gold was selling for $250 an ounce and the upper Animas River was meeting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aquatic life standards. Now gold is pushing $2,000 an ounce and three of four trout species no longer can live in the upper Animas because of acid drainage from abandoned gold mines north of Silverton.