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Northern Colorado Business Report

February 5, 2008


Mining officials meet with local reps

DENVER -- Representatives from Powertech USA and the Colorado Mining Association were meeting Feb. 5 with Colorado Reps. John Kefalas and Randy Fischer to review House Bill 1161, which Kefalas and Fischer have proposed to require mining companies to return groundwater to its pre-mining condition.

The bill is still before the House Agriculture Committee and has not yet been introduced into the General Assembly. Reps. Ray Rose and Wes McKinley and Sen. Scott Renfroe were also scheduled to attend the meeting.

Mining officials are hoping to offer possible amendments to the bill, according to a press statement.

"Industry experts have expressed serious concerns about the broad nature of the bill, calling for sweeping changes to the regulation process," said John Hall, a spokesman for Powertech USA. "They contend a sufficient process is already in place on the federal, state and local level."

Powertech USA, a subsidiary of Canadian-based Powertech Uranium, is proposing to mine uranium on about 5,700 acres in western Weld County where the company has purchased mineral rights and some property. Neighbors of the project and others who oppose uranium mining have called on Kefalas and Fischer to make sure company activities don't pollute groundwater supplies in the area.

HB 1161 as introduced would also require companies to provide evidence of five successfully cleaned mines before a mining permit is approved. Powertech is asking that the bill instead allow mining companies to give a "comprehensive history" of mining techniques and the risks involved in using them.

The House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to consider the bill and any possible amendments at a hearing on Wednesday.