A history of White Vulcan Mine

2010-12-05T05:00:00Z A history of White Vulcan Mine Arizona Daily Sun
December 05, 2010 5:00 am

1953: Claims are filed on 320 acres in the Coconino National Forest that is to become the White Vulcan Mine.

1960-1978: White Vulcan changes ownership repeatedly, and is sold by the county sheriff for $1,658 at one point.

1968: Limited mining begins at White Vulcan.

1980: The Clarence Morgan family acquires rights to the mine, later to pass to Arizona Tufflite owned by the Morgans.

1985: The U.S. Forest Service seeks to have mining claims declared null and void. Pumice mining at White Vulcan increases partly due to its use in making stone-washed jeans.

1986-1993: Tufflite sells pumice to garment industry for 9-10 cents per pound, and elsewhere for use in masonry, landscaping.

1987: Forest Service states Tufflite needs archaeological clearance, has damaged archaeological sites, and isn't properly paying the agency or following required procedures.

1990: Pumice sales decline worldwide, due partly to use of new chemical technique to make aged-looking jeans.

1994: Arizona Department of Environmental Quality cites Forest Service for water quality violations at White Vulcan Mine.

1998: Tufflite proposes to expand mine, triggering litigation and environmental analysis; Forest Service files an application to withdraw more than 74,380 acres of forest in the San Francisco Peaks from mining temporarily. That withdrawal is later extended for 20 years.

1999: The City of Flagstaff passes a resolution opposing expansion of White Vulcan Mine and urging that the Peaks be withdrawn from future mining

2000: U.S. Interior and Agriculture departments agree to pay Arizona Tufflite Inc. $1 million to cease pumice mining at White Vulcan Mine. The company is to end new mining within six months and Tufflite is to relinquish all 49 of its mining claims on the Peaks, totaling 8,000 acres.

2005: An equipment operator at White Vulcan, Valdis G. Cody, 26, is killed when the scraper he is operating descends a road, veers off, and Cody is ejected and crushed. The Mine Health and Safety Administration later stated the scraper's brakes were not working property, and Cody was under the influence of alcohol and wasn't wearing a seat belt.

2009: Tufflite asks for release of one (of two) bonds for reclamation; U.S. Forest Service grants it.

Aug. 2010: Reclamation supposed to be complete by Arizona Tufflite, but is not yet.

Jan. 1 2011: Reclamation projected to be complete on 90-acre open-pit mine, depending on weather, snowfall

Summer 2011: Former mine area could open to public, if area burned in Schultz fire reopens as proposed

— Sources: Daily Sun archives, federal court documents, Associated Press, Coconino National Forest, Mine Safety and Health Administration

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