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Wed, Sept. 30

Meetings set to discuss Orphan Mine cleanup

The Orphan Mine headframe is the most visible remnant of the mining industry’s presence on the South Rim.

The Orphan Mine headframe is the most visible remnant of the mining industry’s presence on the South Rim.

Three public meetings are planned at the end of this month to provide information on efforts to clean up and restore the Orphan Mine site.

The first will be in Flagstaff on Tuesday, Sept. 30, at 5 p.m. at the Coconino County Forest Supervisors Office on Thompson Street.

On Wednesday, Oct. 1, there will be two meetings at the Shrine of the Ages, at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. All will have the same content and will include a Powerpoint presentation.

According to Park Public Affairs Officer Maureen Oltrogge, the meetings will offer an update on the progress of mine cleanup, which will begin to take visible steps forward in November with removal of some man-made features and study of the area to form an engineering evaluation and cost analysis. They expect to have the first part done by early February.

"They'll determine what cleanup needs to be done and present some alternatives," she said.

The site is being considered as two units - Unit one covers about 31 acres on the rim where the 80-foot headframe still stands. Unit two deals with everything below, including a 1,500-foot shaft.

The Orphan got its start as a copper mine on an 1893 claim. In 1951, it was found to contain high grade uranium and over the next 18 years, 13 million pounds of uranium was removed.

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