Stick to facts

To the Journal editor:

I would like to sincerely congratulate Gail Griffith on her receipt of SWUP’s Fred Rydholm Sisu Award. That’s outstanding. Few causes are so important as protecting the environment we all share. But it is at this point that I part company on the best way to accomplish that.

When I taught mineralogy at Northern Michigan University in 2009, I made it clear to my students that neither pro- nor anti-mining rhetoric would be allowed in the classroom.

We all know big business sometimes lies to us for sake of its agendas, and I hope that more people are beginning to realize that environmental activists aren’t all angels and light either-they too lie sometimes for the sake of their agendas; business is business, after all.

To me, the finest gift that an educator can give people is accurate, unbiased information, thus empowering people to be able to tell when someone is attempting to mislead. Unfortunately, not everyone shares my viewpoint.

In recent years, several Marquette area educators have been complicit in the distribution of scare-tactic misinformation about Michigan uranium on activist websites. So once again, I attempt to set the record straight.

Is there uranium in Michigan? Yes. All mines contain trace uranium. All common rock types such as shale, sandstone, and granite contain trace uranium. Thus, materials derived from those rocks also contain uranium-natural materials like sand and gravel, and artificial products like bricks and concrete.

But is there any known uranium “ore” (economically-viable accumulation) here? No. Nor are there any marginal deposits of uranium in Michigan that could be mined if the price of uranium were to increase. There aren’t any proposed uranium mines here. And while it is possible that an exploration company could discover a mineable uranium orebody in Michigan’s future, it’s unlikely-companies have been searching for just that for 64 years now with no success, so no reason to think they will make such a strike anytime soon. Oh-and contrary to what SWUP posted on their website on September 8, 2012, Lundin’s Eagle mine (copper/nickel) is not going to morph into a uranium mine and start producing yellowcake uranium.

Awards are great but facts are better. Let’s stick to facts.

Shawn M. Carlson, mineralogist

Crystal Falls