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Underground mining methods and costs at three salt wash uranium mines of Climax Uranium Co.

Dare WL
Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, IC 7908, 1959 Feb; :1-36
This information circular is one of a series published by the Federal Bureau of Mines in which the methods and costs of producing uranium ore on the Colorado Plateau are discussed. This report describes the three largest company-operated uranium mines of Climax Uranium Co. - the G-1, the Mineral Joe, and the Frank No.1. Climax Uranium Co., a subsidiary of American Metal Climax, Inc., was incorporated May 11, 1950, just 2 years after establishment of the domestic uranium program by the Atomic Energy Commission. Twenty-five years earlier Arthur H. Bunker, now chairman of the board, American Metal Climax, Inc., organized and operated the U. S. Vanadium Co. at Rifle, Colo. Soon after Climax Uranium Co. was organized, it entered into a contract with the Federal Government to build a uranium-vanadium processing mill in Grand Junction, Colo. Under the contract Climax leased from the Federal Government certain uranium-bearing lands that had been withdrawn from public entry in 1948. From Minerals Engineering Co., on June 12, 1950, Climax acquired other uranium-vanadium properties on Calamity, Outlaw, and Monogram Mesas in Colorado and on Polar Mesa and in the Yellow Cat area of Utah. To house the milling equipment, Climax leased the old Grand Junction sugarmill building of the Holly Sugar Co. Milling facilities, based on a then new process developed for treating both uranium and vanadium, were completed, and the plant went into production in 1951. The uranium-ore deposits in the three mines described in this report lie within the Salt Wash member of the Jurassic Morrison formation. Two of the mines are in the Uravan mineral belt in Colorado; the third is on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona. The three Salt Wash deposits were larger than average, but now the ore reserves of two of them are thought to be nearly exhausted. The three operations typify the three general methods of mine development and illustrate the wide degree of mechanization used on the plateau. The deepest of the three mines is entered through a 255-foot, two-compartment vertical shaft; the shallowest is entered through 15 degree and 20 degree inclines; the third is entered through adits driven into the ore from surface outcrops. Loading and hauling in the shaft-developed mine are done with slushers and track-mounted equipment. The ore is stoped through short raises driven from a haulage level beneath the ore. The deposit developed by the inclines has been the thickest of the three. In mining it the operator was one of the first on the plateau to use crawler and rubber-tired equipment underground for loading and haulage. The ore in the adit-developed mine has been less regular and thinner than that in the other two mines; and, except for drilling, this operation is not mechanized. The ore is moved in wheelbarrows and hauled to the surface by burros. The lightweight, leg-mounted rock drill is the only common piece of production equipment used by all three operations. Electric power is available only at the shaft-developed mine. Comparative costs in units of manpower are tabulated at the end of this report.
Mining-industry; Uranium-ore; Uranium-mining; Underground-mining
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Numbered Publication; Information Circular
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Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, IC 7908
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division