CC&V Gold Mine Holds Virtual Open House; Outlines Expansion/Reclamation Pursuits

Deadline Approaching for Vaccine Mandates

Trevor Phipps

After a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the Newmont Mining Company has returned to the public meeting stage.

Before the pandemic struck, the mining company used to hold regular forums to give updates regarding operations of the CC&V gold mine. These often attracted many participants from the community.

Once the pandemic struck, the mining company could no longer hold their informative meetings in public. The safety precautions they followed did not allow the mine to hold face to face meetings with local residents.

However, last week officials from the mining company held a virtual open house, conducted  online in which members from the community were invited to attend.

The mine’s sustainability and external relations specialist Katie Blake ran the virtual meeting and the company’s general manager Melissa Harmon was also present. At the beginning of the open house, Blake introduced two new members to the external relations team.

The mining company announced that they have now added Kaitlyn Ragsdale and Meghan Rozell as sustainability & external relations representatives to their team. Rozell just recently ended a four year term as a Cripple Creek City Council Member last month.

During the meeting, Blake discussed the work being conducted on a historic ore house on the mine’s property. Then, Harmon gave a business update on the mine.

The mine recently conducted a risk assessment and found that their pit and blasting operations will be impacting the historic Fairview ore house in 2023. The assessment showed that the company will not be able to relocate the building.

“Our risk assessment identified some underground mining points that meet this historic building,” Blake said. “And then the assessment identified that it had some pretty significant advanced aging and weather-related deterioration. For that reason, it is unsafe to move this historic building.”

Instead, the mine did a whole documentation of the historical significance of the building. They also got artists to commemorate the building and they will be putting the renditions in local museums and in their headquarters facility.

Vaccine Mandates/Expansion Pursuits Announced

During the business update, Harmon started talking about the reclamation efforts the mine has taken the last few years. She also discussed future plans for seeding the mine scars on the north side of town.

Harmon then talked about the mining company’s policies related to COVID-19 vaccinations. “Newmont is a global business which operates 12 sites in different countries and it has elected to require vaccinations for all employees in the organization,” the mine’s general manager said. “This includes CC&V as well as the other 11 operating sites. At CC&V because we are in the U.S. and we have had open access to the vaccine for some time now, the deadline for that requirement is a bit shorter than it is in some of the other countries Newmont operates where the vaccine is not as available. The deadline at CC&V is January 31 for all employees to be fully vaccinated from COVID-19 unless they have an approved exemption or an exemption still pending.”

Harmon also mentioned that the mine has teamed up with Caterpillar to make all of their hauling trucks fully autonomous. “I think it’s pretty exciting that it’s new technology that we get to pilot,” Harmon said. “Our fleet will be the first fully autonomous fleet in the United States. So, I think that it is a good claim to fame in the mining community for our area.”

She said that the next step would be to go to a fully autonomous battery and an electrical-powered fleet. She said that the goal is part of the company’s mission to reduce emissions and their carbon footprint.

She then gave some updates for mine operations this year. According to Harmon, the mine has moved a total of 28 million tons of material in 2021. The mine also has plans to close up some old underground tunnels during 2022.

In addition, Harmon discussed the efforts to expand CC&V and continue operations into the future. The county commissioners just recently approved an amendment to expand the life of the Cresson operation until at least 2031, with full closure of the mine not slated until 2050.