Mining projects are contemplated in two Bureau of Land Management wilderness study areas in southern Utah, according to federal documents.
A BLM "Wilderness Report" issued Wednesday said a company called Red Ledge Minerals proposes to drill four mineral exploration holes in the San Rafael Reef Wilderness Study Area. The area is at the edge of the wilderness study area near Crawford Draw, a few miles south of I-70.The San Rafael Swell-San Rafael Reef region is a rugged desert landscape that many conservationists support for national park status. Park status is opposed by off-road vehicle users and others, some of whom contemplate establishing a national off-road vehicle park there.
Red Ledge Minerals plans to sink four more holes in the San Rafael Swell just outside the wilderness study area.
BLM spokesman Terry Humphrey, Price, said the company, part of Concord Associates of Denver, is interested in drilling to a depth of 150 feet in search of high-quality sand that could be used to make glass. The drill rig would be mounted on a truck.
Its mineral claims were filed after passage of the Federal Land Planning and Management Act of 1976, which means the company's right to drill in wilderness study areas is more limited than would be the case if the claims had been filed before.
"It's extremely doubtful anything could be approved," because of the requirement that an area that is a candidate for wilderness not be scarred, Humphrey said. Still, he said, an environmental assessment will be prepared on the project.
In the Mount Hillers wilderness study area, part of the Henry Mountains south of Hanksville, a project envisions mining and exploration.
"The comment period will end 15 days from publication in the Federal Register," says the Federal Register notice, published Oct. 20. "For further information contact Roy Edmonds," whose Richfield number is 896-8221.
Copies of an environmental assessment of the Mount Hillers project are available at the BLM's district office at 150 E. Ninth North, Richfield.