As a neighbor to Cripple Creek and Victor, Newmont Mining Corp. conducts periodic public meetings to keep both communities abreast of the company’s surface mining operations for low-grade gold.
During two meetings, held Dec. 12 and 13, Newmont representatives informed attendees of current and upcoming operations, as well as provided a forum to discuss any issues impacting residents and their concerns.
The meeting on Dec. 12 was held at the Heritage Center and addressed the newly developed Globe Hill and Schist Island mining sites bordering Cripple Creek to the east. The meeting in Victor was held at the Community Center and focused on the 1895 Cresson and more recent South Cresson mining pits.
Newmont opened the meeting with a “safety share” containing a nugget of information about the use of two many plug-ins on power strips. Following the share, General Manager Mike Schaffner said that, of all the Newmont operations throughout the past five years, he could report CC&V’s best safety record to date.
He said gold production is steady with an expected 359,000 ounces for 2018, slightly over 2017’s 356,000 ounces.
Schaffner also gave some insight into the so-called “Cripple Creek Underground” news regarding exploration for gold — underground, an altogether different type of mining which could extend CC&V gold production past the current 2026 life expectancy of the surface operation phase.
Having identified “10-13 good targets”, Schaffner said the mine will be “kicking off a major exploration effort in 2019” from which a “vertical exploration decline” will allow teams to sample from a cross-section of potential targets.”
With the focus on Newmont’s “good neighbor” policy, community involvement and historic preservation efforts were highlighted at both meetings.
External Community Relations Director Lorna Shaw said Newmont’s commitment to community involvement includes the company’s Community Investment and Legacy Fund, an ongoing program investing over $350,000 locally to 75 nonprofit organizations in 2018. Seventy-eight thousand dollars went specifically towards communications improvements for the Victor Fire Department.
Historic preservation efforts include restoration and relocation of structures such as mining headframes. At the Victor meeting, requests for information regarding the preservation and stability of certain structures were presented. Colorado has plans to stabilize the Gold King mine located at Poverty Gulch.
In addition, the company monitors the wellbeing of numerous structures, some of which have been identified as having historic significance and others which have deteriorated beyond repair.
Questions arising from the approximate 25 Victor residents in attendance at the Dec. 13 meeting were mostly focused on vibrations from blasting, light and noise from drills, heavy equipment and trucks.
“I know you guys are trying but, no matter how hard you try, it still affects us,” Joe Stephenson said of the daily mining operations.
According to Schaffner, the mine has in place a task force to address any issues and concerns that arise from residents. Blast notifications are sent out, structural surveys are performed, schedules are modified and the ongoing monitoring of light, dust and vibrations. In addition, residents are encouraged to call and teams will come to their homes at the times in question.
Additionally, as the mining operations delve deeper for gold, the pits will begin to invert, thus reducing the effects upon its neighbors.
At the Cripple Creek meeting, residents wanted to know if the mine could conduct additional tours throughout the year.
Two Cripple Creek and Victor High School students in attendance at the Victor meeting asked about a career path studies while in school and job opportunities for graduating seniors. Schaffner said there are numerous entry-level jobs and opportunities for advancement within the company.
“Thank you for giving us a shop to work in,” the students said in appreciation for Newmont’s contribution to CC&V High School.