Quarry and Uranium Mines

View of a Quarry "Section" or Cutting (engraving)

View of a Quarry "Section" or Cutting (engraving), 1800s

There are other types of mines besides placer and lode in Park County, as well, such as the quarries. A quarry is another type of mining process which removes ore from just under the earth’s surface.[1] This type of mining is used to extract marble, fossils, gravel, sand, and stone. You can see massive quarries to the west as you drive along Highway 9 from Fairplay to Alma. Surface mines generally produce 70% of mineral ores.[2]

View of building in Garo, Colorado taken on November 18, 1976

View of building in Garo, Colorado taken on November 18, 1976

 

 

Uranium lode mines exist in Park County as well. The uranium mine just south of the town of Garo, called Duvall Discovery or Shirley May Mine, ran for thirty years off and on between 1919 and 1952.[3]

Geologic Map, Garo Uranium Deposits, Park County Colorado

 

 

 

The uranium was found while miners were searching for copper deposits. In-situ mining techniques are used for extraction by drilling small holes into the deposit and pouring a man-made solution to dissolve it.[4] Uranium was found in the region by accident when prospectors were searching for copper.

In his 2002 interview with Cara Doyle, Robert Robeson described the dangers and health lasting impacts from working in a uranium mine:

But now you’ve paid a pretty heavy price for your mining, right? You did the uranium mining?

Mm-hmm.

I think that’s important for people to know. When you were doing the uranium mining, they knew that it was bad, right?

I don’t know how to explain it. I couldn’t (inaudible) over. Deliberately. While you was catching a disease.

For your health …and what happened to you because of the uranium mining?

What happened to me? My chest, my lungs.

You lost a lung from it, right?

Mm-hmm...Can’t hardly breathe.

- Robert "Shorty" Robeson [5]

[1] Christopher G. Morris, ed., “Open-Pit Mining,” in Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology, 4th ed. (Oxford: Elsevier Science & Technology, 1992).
[2] “The Macmillan Encyclopedia,” in The Macmillan Encyclopedia (Aylesbury, Bucks: Market House Books Ltd, 2003).
[3] Garland B. Gott, “Saro Uranium Deposits, Park County, Colorado,” Saro Uranium Deposits, Park County, Colorado (1951).
[4] World Nuclear Association, “In Situ Leach Mining of Uranium,” October 2017, https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/mining-of-uranium/in-situ-leach-mining-of-uranium.aspx.
[5] Robeson, Robert. "Interview with Robert “Shorty” Robeson." Interview by Cara Doyle, February 19, 2002. https://pclha.cvlcollections.org/items/show/991.