Henderson Mill’s plan to haul 60K tons of material for summer project could cause major traffic headaches
Henderson Mill, located in Grand County on County Road 3 in the Williams Fork River basin, is planning to move a lot of earth this summer — approximately 60,000 tons.
Henderson’s plan to haul roughly 120 million pounds of earth, divided between roughly 27,000 tons of sand and 30,000 tons road base material this year to facilitate two separate projects: a dam grading and material relocation project and a road maintenance program for the mill’s haul and access roads. On Tuesday officials from Henderson gave a presentation to the Grand County Commissioners on the projects, which are expected to start in mid-May and continue through the end of July, with a brief hiatus while the Ride The Rockies bicycle tour travels through the area.
According to Henderson Geotechnical Engineer Brandon Guite, who presented to the Commissioners about the projects, Henderson annually conducts road maintenance work on the haul and access roads that help facilitate operations of the molybdenum processing plant. The dam grading and material relocation project is another story.
Mining operations produce a substance called tailings, a left over residue resulting from processing ore from rock. Tailings are often held in tailing ponds like the one employed by Henderson in Grand County. Anyone who has driven along County Road 3 up and over Ute Pass should be familiar with the Henderson tailings pond, located directly west of the facility, and he massive dam structure that separates the pond from County Road 3.
The dam is technically broken down into two separate parts with one part, a large terraced section, easily visible from County Road 3 northwest of the mill. According to Guite’s presentation the terraced section of the dam tends to store water and during the spring the buildup of water and cause erosion. Henderson plans to grade the terrace benches this summer and relocating the graded material to the other portion of the tailing pond dam. The graded portions will then see approximately 27,000 tons of sand added over the summer.
Hauling all the road base material and sand will require a significant effort. Officials from Henderson estimated the work will require between eight and 10 20-ton end-dump trucks hauling up to 40 loads a day to the area. Officials stated the will be using Highway 9 and Country Road 3 as haul routes during the process.
Guite informed the Commissioners that Henderson is taking steps to mitigate dust from the two projects. According to Guite Henderson already employs a dust suppression program on the tailings pond that will continue and will be supplemented by water trucks along the haul routes as well as the use of magnesium chloride as well. Guite noted that the materials that will be used in the work must maintain a particular water content as part of the “technical guidelines” specified by the project.
Study will measure effects of more molybdenum in drinking, ag water
Henderson Environmental Manager Miguel Hamarat also updated the Commissioners on a cattle study the entity has engaged from Colorado State University. The study will look at the impacts of elevated levels of molybdenum in agriculture on cattle.
According to Hamarat’s presentation the study, which will utilize local cattle stock and locally purchased hay, will kick off this summer and continue through the summer of 2019. The study will include six different treatment groups including two control groups and four groups that will receive elevated levels of molybdenum, including one group that will receive molybdenum through their diet.
Hamarat confirmed with the Commissioners that the study would be published in an academic journal after its completion.
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