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History of Mining, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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The eastern and southeastern regions near the basin margins of the Green, Grand, and Colorado rivers in Utah contain deposits of uranium. In 1898 the Welsh-Lofftus Uranium and Rare Metals Company operated in Richardson, Grand County. The San Rafael deposits were found about fifteen miles southwest of the Green River; and in 1904 ore was located in Wayne County, southeast of the San Rafael Swell. Other areas where uranium was found were west of the La Sal Mountains, south of Richardson, at Mill Creek, north of Moab, at Cold Creek (twenty miles north of Price), and at Temple Mountain.

Market demands grew for vanadium and radium, which are found in uranium. By 1906 nearly 200 tons of uranium were mined annually in Colorado and Utah. World War I sharpened the demand, as vanadium was used as a steel-hardening agent, and radium found a use as an illumination agent for watch faces, compasses, gunsights, and airplane dials. Nearly all the known deposits were located in the United States, and the market demand was high.

Shifting trends affected and altered Utah's uranium industry. Production slowed during the 1921-22 depression. Of more permanent significance were the rich ore finds of radium in the Belgian Congo in 1923, and of vanadium in Peru. These countries came to dominate the market. Between 1923 and 1940 the production of uranium in Utah and the West proved negligible. However, during the Cold War period of the 1950s and 1960s uranium again reigned as a "wonder metal." The uranium strikes of the 1950s created another "bonanza" period in Utah mining. Charles (Charlie) Steen reigned as the most well known of the uranium bonanza kings. His palatial home in Moab exemplified this newfound wealth; but Steen's fortunes also were affected by the economic downturns of the industry.


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