Mining firms show interest in Ore. gold, uranium

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ONTARIO, Ore. (AP) -- A section of Eastern Oregon suffering from high unemployment hopes a renewed interest from mining companies in its uranium and gold stores leads to a jobs boom, but environmentalists remain skeptical the mining can be done safely.

The mining companies pledge that cleaner, more efficient technology should make the ventures palatable to environmental groups that opposed area mines in the 1980s and 1990s.

Earlier approaches used a so-called pit mining approach, which used chemicals to leach heavy metals from open-air digs. Ponds of the diluted chemicals attracted and killed birds.

Now, a Canadian company may seek a permit to extract microscopic gold from the area, the Oregonian reported (http://bit.ly/y8d5Ah ).

An Australian firm is looking at drawing yellowcake uranium from a pit mine 3 miles north of the Oregon-Nevada border.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com