FREMONT COUNTY – A mining company has struck gold in Canon City.
Currently, Zephyr Minerals is only doing exploration in the Temple Canyon area. On Tuesday, Fremont County commissioners voted unanimously to approve an extension of a conditional use permit for further exploration.
While it could be years before Zephyr decides to actually start mining, city and county leaders are already preparing for the future, and taking the opinions of residents seriously.
Fremont County Commissioner Tim Payne said, “We don’t know exactly what their long-range plans are.”
Fremont County has yet to get an application from Zephyr to start a mining operation in Temple Canyon.
Payne said, “All this is is exploration.”
For now, exploration will continue for the next three years, but plans could move forward down the road. The potential for mining is sparking controversy for nearby residents in Dawson Ranch.
Ashley Smith, Canon City mayor pro tem, said, “They’re very concerned about having a gold mine so close to their subdivision especially if Zephyr was to ask to expand their footprint. It could be within a half a mile of some of our residents.”
Payne said, “They feel like…property values might go down…they’re concerned about dust, noise, traffic.”
However, others are seeing the economic boost a mine could bring to the area.
Payne said, “Long-range they have told us anywhere from 50 to 75 jobs could come into that.”
In short, there’s a division among residents.
Smith said, “There are those who are already contacting environmentalists to see if they could do a lawsuit all the way to other residents who are already buying stocks in the company.”
Smith said there’s not much for the city or county to do until Zephyr actually asks for a permit to start a gold mine. In the meantime, she encourages people to keep asking questions and voice any concerns.