Monday is the deadline for people who own a few mining claims on public land to make sure the government knows they want to keep them. The paperwork is minimal and the $140 fee for maintaining a claim can even be waived.
Under a federal law that dates back to 1872, the rules for mining claims aren't that different for the lone prospector and the huge companies that extract millions of dollars' worth of minerals from public land. That bothers Tim Wagner with the Sierra Club, who says big corporations pay almost nothing for the minerals they extract.
About 30 members of the United Mine Workers Union of America from the Deer Creek coal mine located near Huntington, Utah gathered outside of the Gallivan center Friday to tell people they’re concerned about their safety. Right now they are in the middle of contract negotiations with their employer, Energy West Mining, who they say is planning to cut safety provisions. The proposal includes eliminating 11 of the unions 14 safety representatives. Union spokesman Brad Timothy says that won’t keep them safe.
The Utah State Board of Regents has just approved a new Center for Mining Safety and Health Excellence at the University of Utah. The formation of the center goes back to 2008 after the fatal Crandall Canyon accident in eastern Utah. Six miners and three rescue workers were killed in the 2007 disaster. Within a year, the Utah Mine Safety Commission under former Governor John Huntsman Jr. recommended creating an endowed chair in mine safety. Associate professor Tom Hethmon is the director of the new center at the U and is the founding chair.