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Video to explore uranium 'Mining in the Swell'

Published November 9, 2012 6:51 pm

Emery County • Film debuting Thursday is part of project to seal 172 abandoned mines.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A documentary about uranium mining in the San Rafael Swell through the eyes of six Emery County residents will have its premiere Thursday at the Museum of the San Rafael in Castle Dale.

"Mining in the Swell" revolves around oral history interviews conducted in 2011 by Brigham Young University historian Michael Searcy as the state's Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program was in the early stages of a project to seal 172 uranium mines in the San Rafael Swell.

Searcy interviewed six people — John Anderson, Barbara Ekker, Ted Ekker, Jack Erwin, Mervin Miles and Mark H. Williams — involved with the industry from its boom days in the 1950s through its demise in the mid-1960s.

Much of their discussion focuses on five mines in the Swell — Copper Globe, Lucky Strike, Tomsich Butte, Hidden Splendor and Little Susan.

"This little film does a great job of capturing the flavor of what it was like to be mining uranium in the swell 60 and 70 years ago," said Tony Gallegos, project manager for the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, adding he hopes it will "make the history of mining in the San Rafael Swell during the Cold War uranium boom era more available to Emery County citizens and visitors to the swell."

The oral history and video productions were conducted to comply with the National Historic Preservation Act, which frequently is required on mine-reclamation projects.

The reclamation work itself will begin early next year, said Gallegos, who will describe the process at the Thursday premiere scheduled for 7 p.m. at a meeting of the Emery County Historical Society at the museum, 96 N. 100 East, in Castle Dale. The public is invited to attend.

mikeg@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sltribmikeg —

Utah uranium

O The written version of the San Rafael Oral History Report is available at http://1.usa.gov/Tt3Ria.