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Mining Threat to Otero Mesa: AP Story in press

Geovic stakes mining claims in southern NM, coalition renews call for Otero Mesa protection

SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN
Associated Press – February 23, 2011

Albuquerque Journal
NewsWest Channel 9
KCBS Channel 11
The Washington Examiner
KFDA Channel 10

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Otero Mesa has served as a battleground for environmentalists and the oil and natural gas industry for the past decade.

Now, a coalition of environmental groups is concerned about dozens of new mining claims staked in the southern New Mexico area by Denver-based Geovic Mining Corp.

The company has staked more than 50 20-acre claims in the hope of finding sources of zirconium and rare earth minerals. However, the president of the company’s new ventures division says it’s very early in the process and Geovic is still a long way from determining whether to even seek a mining permit.

Environmentalists consider mining as a “volatile threat” to Otero Mesa. The area has been described as the largest publicly owned expanse of undisturbed Chihuahuan Desert grassland in the United States.

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