No more fireworks on blasting concerns for new venture
~ by Rick Langenberg ~
The Newmont Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine plans to soon cut the ribbon on the new American Eagles relocation and historic exhibits, just west of Victor.
This culminates an elaborate historic preservation project involving the closure of the former American Eagles Overlook site that had played a key role in Victor’s tourism efforts. But town leaders won’t be disappointed with the new relocation of the American Eagles mine in the Little Grouse area, vowed CC&V officials. The new site, already approved by county officials off Hwy. 67, should open to the public shortly, according to environmental coordinator Clara Steward. With a continual bout of milder weather, the new visitor area could open by the end of the year, according to CC&V officials.
Plus, mine officials continue to meet with local residents regarding blasting concerns and other related issues pertaining to the Globe Hill mining operation, overlooking the Heritage Center, close to the historic Poverty Gulch area just outside Cripple Creek. Residents also got a quick glimpse of the new CC&V bid, Amendment 12.
These were some of the highlights of a community forum, held Saturday at the Cripple Creek Heritage Center, regarding an update on CC&V activities. The forum was attended by many local residents, but no big complaints surfaced.
According to CC& V spokesman Brad Poulson, this marked the third community forum on the Globe Hill project since mining began there several months ago. He believes that the company’s improving communications efforts have turned the corner in getting residents to realize details of CC&V’s latest mining project. “I think some people just didn’t understand the magnitude of this project,” said Poulson, regarding earlier concerns, resulting in standing-room-only crowds at Cripple Creek council forums and at meetings hosted by the Teller County commissioners. These crowds were partially sparked by letters CC&V sent out, advising residents of probable impacts with their Globe Hill venture.
Surprisingly, Saturday’s meeting produced few concerns over blasting and noise complaints regarding the North Cresson project, originally approved in 2012. CC&V officials made it clear that current mining operations have produced noticeable impacts, but haven’t gotten to the point of generating an uncomfortable situation with any structural damage to area residents. CC&V officials have offered to do a pre- structural analysis of any nearby homes or residents that may be impacted by the project, expected to continue until 2025. A number of residents have taken CC&V up on their offer. A few of them inquired about the status of these analysis reports at last week’s meeting
Globe Hill is the first real CC&V venture in recent years that has impacted the Cripple Creek gaming community.
Tampering with History?
More public comments actually occurred last week regarding the opening of the new American Eagles site. Steward reiterated the company’s previous position that this relocation was prompted by safety concerns. The previous site, located in a scenic spot that offered a rare panoramic view of the district, occurred in an active mining area. “It was pretty unsafe,” said Steward.
Not everyone, though, is still thrilled with the mine’s decision to move the American Eagles Overlook, which closed in the spring of 2016.
“It’s like moving the battle of Gettysburg,” blasted Cripple Creek resident Jack McGee. He maintained that if the company wants to preserve history, then “preserve history” and don’t disguise their efforts. He expressed displeasure with the moving of the site from the original location of American Eagles, saying this clashed with efforts to preserve a rare historic site. Other residents also asked about details of this preservation project.
But CC&V officials defended their actions, saying the moving option was driven by safety concerns, and they had received the support of such organizations as the Southern Teller County Focus group.
Much opposition surfaced when the American Eagles Overlook closure decision was announced. This site was cited as key spot for attracting tourists to Victor.
However, in recent months, a higher level of acceptance has occurred regarding the alternative options. At last week’s forum, Steward heavily lauded the efforts of Conley Construction in making this project a reality and in their efforts to save the mining structures and artifacts.
Besides the American Eagles relocation activity, the environmental coordinator cited much action in preserving the Independence head frame.
As for other concerns, CC&V spokesperson Lorna Shaw addressed earlier complaints that Cripple Creek wasn’t receiving a good portion of the company’s community investment dollars. According to Shaw, the Cripple Creek area now receives the far majority of these dollars.
In other upcoming action, the company will soon be submitting its Amendment 12 application. But this permit is mostly a technical move and doesn’t involve any new mining disturbances, according to CC&V officials.