The Oregon Natural Resources Report - Agricultural News from Oregon

A gold rush in Eastern Oregon?

January 24, 2012

By Oregon Small Business Association

The Corvallis Gazette Times reports that  three miles north of Nevada in Eastern Oregon lies fabulous wealth, in the form of an estimated 425,000 ounces of gold. Close to the gold deposit is another of uranium, which Oregon Energy Corp. hopes to mine over the next twenty years.

Environmentalists are critical of the plan. Heavy metals such as uranium are mined with a process that involves sulfuric acid being used to eat the metal out of raw ore. The leftover tailings are contained and disposed of in accordance with a preconceived plan approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But environmentalists worry that the sulfuric acid and the waste rock will continue to interact in harmful ways over the coming years. Oregon Energy says Oregonians have nothing to worry about, due to the law passed by the state legislature in 1991. That act requires all mining companies to post huge bonds that ensure the company will stick around to clean up its mess.

Calico Resources USA Corp. is interested in the nearby gold, and hopes to begin mining operations in five years’ time. Oregon Energy expects to spend significantly longer than that navigating the regulatory maze but hopes to eventually profit from the $52/lb that yellowcake uranium brings on the open market.

The prospective uranium mine would bring four hundred jobs to Malheur County.   Read more here.

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