Congdon granted time to get mine permit in order |

Congdon granted time to get mine permit in order

Colorado’s Mined Land Reclamation Board yesterday gave Avalanche Creek alabaster mine owner Robert Congdon a little more time to get his permit in order.

The board, noting that Congdon failed to take corrective actions by an Aug. 30 deadline, gave him until Nov. 30 to pay a remaining $2,450 civil penalty and post the $11,500 reclamation bond required with his application for a new permit.

“The board gave him another chance,” said Carl Mount, an environmental protection specialist for the Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology. Mount said if Congdon doesn’t complete both of the required actions, he will be called before the board at a future meeting, where the board may consider revoking his existing permit, causing him to forfeit his existing bond.

Congdon was found to be in violation of the provisions of his present permit in June, when he was cited for operating outside of the permit area. The permit was for .3 acres, and Congdon had stored a trailer, some air ducts and some blocks of alabaster on National Forest land outside the area, with permission from the Forest Service.

He was required to obtain a permit for the use of 2.5 acres, requiring the additional bonding amount. His present permit required a bond of $1,500.

Before the August deadline, Congdon filed the application for the new permit, but not the bond.

“We had no choice but to bring him back before the board,” Mount said.

The civil penalty, levied in July, accumulated at $50 per day for each of the 59 days Congdon was in violation, amounting to $2,950. All but $500 of the fine was to be suspended if Congdon obtained the new permit by the Aug. 30 deadline.

Though the existing permit is in Congdon’s name alone, he was represented before the mining board by Tom Swint, a partner in Congdon’s Avalanche Creek Marble and Alabaster, LLC, Mount said.

Swint, contacted after Wednesday’s hearing, said he and Congdon are working with a Grand Junction insurance company which may be able to post the $11,500 bond on behalf of the company by Nov. 30.

Alabaster is used in home interiors for such things as vanities, counter tops and flooring. The Avalanche Creek mine is one of only a handful in the world that produces the stone.

The company has a finishing plant near Carbondale where it cuts and polishes marble, granite and sandstone quarried in Colorado, along with the Avalanche Creek alabaster. It also produces and a line of “fetishes,” animal figurines between three and 12 inches in length, sold in gift shops throughout the state.

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