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Posted September 3, 2009, Updated September 4, 2009



On Thursday, September 3, the Town Board of Nunn, Colorado passed a resolution opposing Powertech Uranium Corp.'s proposed Centennial Uranium Project.  The vote was four in favor, two opposed (including Mayor Jeff Pigue) and one abstention.  Trustees Jenny Johnson, Karen Burd, Joyce Taylor, and Brian Jex supported the resolution. 


Weld County residents Ken Tarbett and Mike Williams presented the resolution to the Town Board.  Tarbett and his family get their water from a domestic well that is the closest well to the area Powertech seeks to mine first.  The Tarbetts have yet to be contacted by Powertech.


The Mayor said he didn't understand the technical issues addressed by the resolution, and he raised the specter of angry mineral rights holders filing lawsuits against the town if the resolution were to pass.  Town Trustee Joyce Taylor responded by asking why the cities and towns of Fort Collins, Greeley, Wellington, Ault, and Timnath had not been sued for  the resolutions they had already passed against the project.


The Town of Nunn has no permitting authority with respect to the Centennial Project.  However, it is the closest municipality to the proposed mine -- a portion of the proposed mining area is located within the town's 3-mile growth management area.  The opposition to the project by the Town of Nunn and other municipalities will be an important consideration when the various permitting agencies weigh the environmental and socioeconomic impacts from the proposed project.





Nunn digs in against uranium mine - Colin Lindenmayer, Greeley Tribune - September 4, 2009


Board opposes uranium mine - Bobby Magill, Fort Collins Coloradoan - September 4, 2009


TOWN OF NUNN, COLORADO - RESOLUTION 2009-09 - RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE TOWN OF NUNN EXPRESSING THE BOARD'S OPPOSITION TO THE MINING OF URANIUM NEAR THE TOWN - Adopted September 3, 2009, Signed by Mayor Pro Tem Christy Alexander, Attested by Town Clerk Tori McMechan (PDF 208 KB, 3 pages)



WHEREAS, Powertech (USA) Inc. (“Powertech”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of
Canadian company Powertech Uranium Corp., has proposed a uranium mining
operation on nearly 10,000 acres of land located west of the Town of Nunn (the
“Town”), known as the Centennial Project (the “Project”); and

WHEREAS, Powertech proposes to extract the uranium using in-situ leach mining,
which involves the drilling of wells into an aquifer, the injection of chemically-altered
water under pressure to dissolve uranium and other heavy metals, and the pumping of
the resulting solution to the surface for further processing; and

WHEREAS, leaching solutions contaminated with heavy metals and radionuclides
would be repeatedly re-injected and re-circulated through the aquifer; and

WHEREAS, Powertech proposes to conduct in-situ leach mining in the Laramie-Fox
Hills aquifer in which numerous domestic and agricultural wells are completed in close
proximity to the proposed mining area; and

WHEREAS, in-situ leach mining holds inherent risks, including but not limited to the
possible contamination of groundwater, and the release of contaminants to surface
areas through spills and leaks as documented in Nuclear Regulatory Commission
records; and

WHEREAS, Powertech proposes to prevent horizontal excursions of leaching solutions
from the mining area into adjacent drinking water supplies by the use of water pressure;

WHEREAS, Powertech claims that impermeable layers of rock will prevent vertical
excursions of leaching solutions into overlying or underlying drinking water aquifers; and

WHEREAS, the proposed mining area includes thousands of exploration drill holes from
the 1970s and 1980s, many of which were not plugged properly to prevent water from
migrating vertically between aquifers; and

WHEREAS, both vertical and horizontal excursions of leaching solutions from the
mining area of historical and current in-situ leach uranium projects are numerous and
well-documented; and

WHEREAS, a lack of long-term monitoring of aquifers at historical in-situ leach uranium
mines has resulted in insufficient data to determine long-term impacts on drinking water
supplies; and

WHEREAS, Powertech proposes to dispose of mine wastewater with elevated levels of
radionuclides and heavy metals by land application with pivot irrigation and by storage
in open holding ponds for later injection into deep wells; and

WHEREAS, land application of mine wastewater could result in dispersal of
contaminants by windblown dust and by surface water runoff; and

WHEREAS, wastewater holding ponds are subject to leaks and failures as documented
in Nuclear Regulatory Commission records; and

WHEREAS, following the cessation of in-situ leach uranium mining, Powertech would
be required to restore the aquifer to pre-mining baseline water quality or to Colorado
radioactive materials standards and the most stringent ground water quality criteria; and

WHEREAS, aquifer restoration involves flushing the aquifer with large quantities of
water from outside the mining area, and may also include filtering, injection of
hazardous reducing chemicals, and injection of substances to promote growth of
microbial agents; and

WHEREAS, historical attempts to restore aquifers to pre-mining baseline water quality
following in-situ uranium leaching have all been unsuccessful, and regulatory agencies
have had to relax water quality restoration standards to allow closure of these mines;

WHEREAS, the closest area to be mined would be on Section 35, bounded by the Nunn
Road (WCR 100), WCR 23, WCR 98, and WCR 21, and is located within the 3-mile
growth management area of the Town; and

WHEREAS, the uranium deposits in the area closest to the Town are shallow and
located above the water table and thus are not amenable to typical in-situ leaching; and

WHEREAS, shallow unsaturated uranium deposits are typically extracted using open pit
mining; and

WHEREAS, open pit mining holds inherent risks, including but not limited to the
possible contamination of groundwater, and the potential hazard of windborne
contaminated dust and particulate matter; and

WHEREAS, Powertech originally notified state mining regulators that it intended to
extract the uranium deposits south of the Nunn Road by the use of open pit mining, but
has since indicated it is investigating alternative methods; and

WHEREAS, Powertech has not reasonably or fully explained how it intends to mine
these shallow deposits; and

WHEREAS, the Project would occur in an area near the Town that is experiencing
steady population growth and is in close proximity to many homes and agricultural
operations; and

WHEREAS, mineral estate owners have a right to extract minerals when that extraction
will not be injurious to surface right owners, neighboring property owners, and
groundwater users; and

WHEREAS, Powertech has been unable to convincingly demonstrate that its proposed
mining activities would not injure surface right owners, neighboring property owners,
and groundwater users; and

WHEREAS, economic development is a high priority for the Town; and

WHEREAS, uranium mining close to the Town might provide employment for a few
local residents but could negatively impact long-term efforts to attract new residents,
businesses, and investment; and

WHEREAS, protection of health, safety, and economic well-being is a primary
responsibility of the Board of Trustees; and

WHEREAS, for all these reasons the Nunn Board of Trustees is strongly opposed to the
Project and hereby conveys that opposition to the federal, state, and county agencies
that will review this project.


Section 1. The Nunn Board of Trustees hereby strongly opposes the proposal for
mining uranium at the proposed Centennial project and urges all county, state, and
federal agencies involved in the permitting process to recognize that locating such
projects along the North Front Range in close proximity to cities and towns is
inappropriate because such mining may be injurious to the health, safety, welfare, and
property rights of the residents and do irreparable harm to the economic well being of
the Town.

Section 2. For all the foregoing reasons the Nunn Board of Trustees further urges all
involved government agencies to deny any and all permit applications for the Project.