BLM seeks public comment for ‘Glitter Mine’ environmental assessment

Members of local media and the Bureau of Land Management looking look down into the pit of the R H B Dixie Bell Mine, popularly known as the "Glitter Pit," "Glitter Mine" and other names, Mohave County, Arizona, Oct. 3, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Popularly known as “Glitter Mountain,” the “Glitter Mine” and other names, the site officially called the R H B Dixie Bell Mine is the subject of an environmental assessment the public is encouraged to comment on between now and early May.

The Bureau of Land Management issued a notice for public comment early this month concerning the site, a surface mine for selenite gypsum located approximately 10 miles southeast of St. George just over the Arizona state line in Mohave County, Arizona.

The environmental assessment reviews a proposal by Veyo-based R & J Stone LLC. Also known as Feller Stone, the company proposes to continue the surface mining of selenite at the site, just as it has done since 1990.

Background

A view into the pit of the “Glitter Mine,” Mohave County, Arizona, Oct. 3, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Nearly 30 years ago, federal mining regulations allowed the company to mine the site after applying “under a notice to prospect and mine the claim,” said Rachel Carnahan, public affairs officer for the BLM Arizona Strip Field Office.

Those regulations changed in 2001 yet allowed Feller Stone to continue to renew the notice, as it was grandfathered in. This practice continued until 2017 when Feller Stone failed to extend the notice.

Feller Stone is now required to submit a plan of operations to the BLM for review. The plan itself would allow the company to conduct business as usual, while also allowing the company to make changes to the site in relation to general access.

“The plan of operations allows Feller Stone to continue mining operations,” Carnahan said, “but it would also allow (the company) to sign and fence the site now and in some future point.”

In recent years the “Glitter Mine” has become an increasingly popular site for locals and tourists to visit. Misinformation on the internet stated the mine was abandoned and the selenite – commonly known as “Utah ice” – was free for the taking.

This resulted in visitors subsequently visiting the site and leaving with both large and small pieces of selenite.

Pieces of selenite crystal, also known as “Utah Ice,” mined from the “Glitter Mountain” site on the Arizona Strip by Feller Stone, Veyo, Utah, Oct. 20, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Russ Feller, the current owner of the mining claim, has said he doesn’t mind people taking small pieces of selenite but frowns on the removal of large chunks he would otherwise be able to collect and sell as a part of his business.

Read more: Owner of ‘Glitter Mountain’ mine asks visitors to respect his claim

Last fall Feller reached out to the BLM to help spread the word that the mine was active and the selenite rock was not a free commodity. The BLM put signs up by the mining site for the public, as well as reached out to local media to help inform the public about the mine’s true nature.

Feller has previously stated the mine may be fenced off at some point due to continuing theft and general safety concerns.

How to comment

A copy of the environmental assessment (EA No. DOI-BLM-AZ-A010-2018-0003-EA) can be obtained at BLM’s NEPA Register ePlanning website here or by contacting Rody Cox via email at r8cox@blm.gov, or calling 435-688-3244.

Hard copies of the EA can also be picked up at the BLM Arizona Strip Field Office, 345 E. Riverside Drive, St. George.

Members of the public are encouraged to provide comments via email at blm_az_asdo_comments@blm.gov. Please include “R H B Dixie Bell Mine EA” in the subject line. Comments may also be mailed to the BLM Arizona Strip Field Office address above or sent by fax to 435-688-3258.

The public comment period ends May 4.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

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