Glacier Lake Resource Inc., a copper and silver mining firm based in Vancouver, Canada, announced that it had acquired the Colt Mesa copper-cobalt property in Garfield County, UT and that intends to being mining by the end of the summer.
The historic mining property which was in production intermittently from 1971 to 1974 is on lands that were previously part of the protected Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. In property, along with part of Bears Ears National Monument, which is also in Utah, was opened to potential development in December 2017 by the Trump administration as part of the largest reversal of national monument protections in U.S. history, NPR reported.
Glacier Lake Resources Inc., said the Colt Mesa mine contains copper, cobalt, zinc, nickel and molybdenum. Saf Dhillon, president and chief executive officer of Glacier Lake Resources, called the project "a welcome addition to the company's ever growing portfolio."
The company's extraction of resources would have little impact on tourism and the environment, Dhillon said, "The target is a high value, underground scenario with modest disturbance." Glacier Lake Resources says it has conducted sampling that confirmed the presence of several minerals, including cobalt.
President Bill Clinton established the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996. It was previously the largest national monument in the country. President Trump has also slashed the Bears Ears National Monument by about a million acres — to roughly 15 percent of its original size.
These actions followed an executive order Trump issued in April 2017, when he instructed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review any national monument created since 1996. Trump said the review would return control of the land "to the people, the people of all of the states, the people of the United States."
After Trump announced that he was reducing the size of the national monuments in Utah, Native American tribes, scientists, and conservationists immediately filed lawsuits against the administration, arguing that only Congress has that power.
To obtain mining rights for land in the U.S., prospectors have to follow a mining law which dates back to 1872. Glacier Lake Resources said it plans to start surface exploration this summer and drill permitting "will be initiated shortly."