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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 24, 2009


Contact: Matt Janowiak,

Columbine Field Manager/District Ranger

(970) 884-1438

BLM reaches Settlement with Mining Company to Repair Illegal Road and Off-road Damage to Federal Lands near Silverton

The Bureau of Land Management has reached a final settlement with a Denver-based mining company for damages to federal lands from illegal road construction in Ross Basin, a high-elevation area northeast of Silverton. The agreement with Colorado Goldfields, Inc. covers the reclamation costs and a penalty. The total settlement exceeded $4,000. 

This summer BLM employees discovered that contractors working for Colorado Goldfields had sunk heavy equipment into alpine tundra and driven motor vehicles cross-country, severely rutting the tundra for about 200 feet. The incident occurred as the mining company was accessing a patented claim to collect core samples during the exploration phase of a gold mining operation. At that time, Goldfields had not applied for a federal right-of-way to access its patented mining claim across federal lands, and driving off-road on federal lands in the area is illegal.
The BLM issued a cease-and-desist order immediately upon confirming the trespass had occurred on federal lands and began negotiating with Goldfields to seek a mutually beneficial resolution.  During negotiations, a temporary emergency closure order was put in place to allow for a federal investigation of the incident.

Colorado Goldfields has placed a sign on their private road to keep the public from venturing onto the reclaimed area.  They have also applied for a legal right-of-way to cross federal lands to the patented claims.  Now that the trespass case is resolved, the BLM is processing the right-of-way, and this should be done in time for the next phase of exploration in Ross Basin.

Last updated: 02-24-2009