Save the San Juans
One of the most heavily mineralized areas in the world is the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. The area is rich in metals that are strategic to United States national defense and to green technology. Yet, China is the primary supplier of many of these metals to the western industrialized world, especially the U.S., and in September 2010 they started to use the leverage this affords to push forward their otherwise unrelated diplomatic agendas. The U.S. is extremely vulnerable, and the Country must protect and access its domestic reserves immediately. Speed is of the essence, as putting mines into production takes years, regardless of whether they’re existing mines that are being reopened or new mines that are being opened for the very first time.
Remarkably, there are those who are dedicated to closing the San Juan Mountains to mining forever, particularly environmental groups and politicians. They call their efforts The Alpine Triangle Campaign, and they are driving it forward despite: the importance of this strategic reserve; successful efforts by a local stakeholders group to clean up area rivers; breakthrough technology proven highly successful at taking heavy metals out of mine drainage; and significant support for mining among the residents of Silverton, Colorado, the town most likely to supply the majority of miners to work in the mines.
The following documents describe today’s conflict over the future of the San Juans as seen through the eyes of one person who opposes the Alpine Triangle Campaign.