Sunday, December 4, 2011

Southern Oregon chromite mine and special minerals project

Communities and property owners may increasingly find their health, quality of life and property values  affected by mineral development. A good example of the unexpected is the mining of black sands along the Southern Oregon Coast. For those who haven't followed Oregon Resources Corporation's development of a chromite mine/special minerals project between Bandon and Coos Bay, below are three OregonLive articles from early 2011 and 2010. They provide a good starting point to learn more.  See also this video on the heavy metal mining project.

Oregon Resources is a subsidiary of Australian owned Industrial Minerals Corporation. Their Southern Oregon Special Minerals project covers approximately 2,600 acres near Coos Bay, Oregon.

Homeowners ask court to block Oregon mining over hexavalent chromium fears
Published: Sunday, January 23, 2011, 10:00 PM Updated: Sunday, January 23, 2011, 10:44 PM
Worried about possible toxic contamination of their drinking water, homeowners will ask a federal judge Tuesday to block strip mining about to start on the southern Oregon coast.

Oregon Resources Corp. intends to begin next week mining chromite and other minerals used by industry. The mine, about 15 miles south of Coos Bay, will strip about 20 acres of top soil at a time to get at ancient beach sand bearing the minerals.

Four families and their local homeowners association said in court filings that too little is known about the extent of hexavalent chromium at the mine. They say the mining could trigger formation of more of the chemical, which can cause cancer in humans and can be lethal to young fish.

Oregon Resources found traces at the mine, but state and federal regulators concluded it was too little to be a risk. They issued the company all the permits needed to start work.

A hearing over the homeowners' request for an injunction is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in Eugene before U.S. District Court Judge Michael Hogan.
Read full article.

Proposed mine near Coos Bay meets opposition, lawsuits
Published: Sunday, November 07, 2010, 5:20 PM Updated: Sunday, November 07, 2010, 5:28 PM
BANDON -- About 200 Oregon coast residents have organized to oppose a planned mining operation near Coos Bay.
The Australian-owned company undertaking the project says the mine will be environmentally safe and bring jobs to a region with a 13 percent unemployment rate.

The Eugene Register-Guard reports that Oregon Resources Corp. is moving forward with construction of a $14 million plant and negotiations with Coos County continue about expanding the site.

Opponents have filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and National Marine Fisheries Service, charging that the agencies shouldn't have granted Oregon Resources' permits, and that they violated environmental laws in doing so.

The company wants to extract hard minerals such as chromite, zircon and garnet.

The company plans to mine 700,000 tons of ore per year, with as many as 67,000 truck trips, or one 24-ton truck every six to eight minutes.
Read full article.

Planned strip mine near Coos Bay hits vein of opposition
Published: Monday, June 14, 2010, 8:46 PM Updated: Monday, June 14, 2010, 11:28 PM
Nancy Ellen Locke savors her coastal escape, with its cabin, pond and plentiful wildlife.

The land in the foothills south of Coos Bay was an anniversary gift 30 years ago, something she asked for instead of the diamond ring her husband had long promised her.

Now, she's bracing for life next to a strip mine.

An Australian-owned company is one permit away from opening up logged forestland to get at a fortune in chromite, zircon and garnet. Oregon Resources Corp. will truck 700,000 tons of ore a year to a new $44 million plant 18 miles away in Coos Bay.
Read full article.