BLM taking input on Oak Mesa

THE US Bureau of Land Management in Colorado has opened a dialogue with the public regarding an environmental assessment for Oxbow Mining that could lead to a new underground mine in the state.
BLM taking input on Oak Mesa BLM taking input on Oak Mesa BLM taking input on Oak Mesa BLM taking input on Oak Mesa BLM taking input on Oak Mesa

Courtesy Oxbow Mining

Donna Schmidt

The agency said it would accept comments until June 13 on the assessment and unsigned documentation reflecting no significant impact for the company’s federal coal exploration license.

The proposed project in Delta County, known as Oak Mesa, stretches from the edge of Bowie mine holdings west across the mesa to the Leroux Creek area.

The total area north of Hotchkiss is about 13,900 acres.

“The Oak Mesa project is adjacent to existing coal leases in an area of known coal reserves,” BLM Uncompahgre field office manager Barb Sharrow said.

“Coal exploration drilling is needed to determine seam reserve availability for possible development of a new underground coal mine.”

Included in Oxbow’s application is a plan to drill 43 exploration holes on private and federal lands, which will be into federal subsurface holdings and completed from half-acre drill pads to a depth of between 220 and 2249 feet.

A 33-acre area would encompass most of the construction’s temporary surface disturbances.

The BLM said of the 43 proposed drill holes, 10 would require pad construction to create level drilling ground of about 5 acres.

Areas of occupation with no grading would occur on all remaining drill pads, or about 16.5 acres.

Oxbow estimates drilling will take about two years at a rate of two to three days per pad and its exploration would begin with the license’s issuance.

A copy of the project’s environmental assessment and other related data is available at

Those wishing to comment can submit input to the BLM Uncompahgre field office in Montrose.

Officials reminded the public that all comments and information, including personal information for respondents, would be available for public review and disclosure and confidentiality had to be requested beforehand.

The US BLM manages more public land than any other federal agency, 245 million acres, in 12 western states including Alaska.

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