Local governments, CDPHE, DNR and Freeport McMoRan collaborate to protect streams near Crested Butte

Todd Hartman, DNR Communications Director| 303-866-3311 x8665 | todd.hartman@state.co.us
Mark Salley, CDPHE Communications Director | 303-692-2013 | mark.salley@state.co.us
A collaboration among local and state agencies and mining company Freeport McMoRan Inc. will ensure the continued operation of a critical water treatment plant that protects waterways from mining impacts in the Crested Butte area.
A carefully crafted agreement between Freeport’s subsidiary Mt. Emmons Mining Company, the town of Crested Butte, Gunnison County, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources will ensure ongoing water treatment as Mt. Emmons Mining Company takes ownership of the Mt. Emmons mine site from U.S. Energy Corp.
The agreement allays local concerns that an industry downturn affecting U.S. Energy could leave the community without resources to operate the water treatment plant, which prevents metals and related contaminants from flowing into Coal Creek, a tributary of the Gunnison River in southwestern Colorado.
“This is a victory for the community” said Gov. John Hickenlooper, “We must continue to make progress on reducing mining-related impacts to our streams and rivers. We appreciate our partnership with Freeport, Crested Butte and Gunnison County; this kind of cooperation represents how we do business in Colorado.”
Under the acquisition agreement with U.S. Energy, Mt. Emmons Mining Company acquired the mine site, including the Keystone Mine, and the related water treatment plant and other associated properties. Mt. Emmons Mining Company replaces U.S. Energy as the owner and water quality permit holder for the treatment plant.