When the nation's largest mining company, American Metal Climax (AMAX), announced in 1977 that it planned to mine the rich molybdenum reserve in Colorado's Mount Emmons, the expected howl was heard from environmental groups (SI, Feb. 19, 1979). The mayor of Crested Butte, Colo., the colorful W. Mitchell (that's his whole name), predicted doom for the "Red Lady," as Mount Emmons is called by the locals, and spoke of "impending disaster for this community." Others took up the cry, arguing that the ineffable charm of their ski resort town (pop. 1,000) would be shattered, and that an economic boom-and-bust scenario would leave Crested Butte as flat financially as Mount Emmons would be physically.
And so, when AMAX announced this summer that its $1 billion mining project was being shelved—until at least 1984—an exultant shout was heard from the environmental corner. Claiming a major victory, Chuck Malick of the High Country Citizens' Alliance said, "All the people who worked to make AMAX accountable here have saved Gunnison County from a catastrophic bust."
Stuff and nonsense, replies Mike Rock, an AMAX representative. He says the protesters had "no effect whatsoever" on the company's decision, and disagrees with Malick's assertion that AMAX has "pulled out" of Crested Butte. The decision to hold off, Rock says, was caused solely by the depressed market for molybdenum, the price of which has dropped more than 15% since 1978.
Whether the mining delay is a result of market conditions or pressure from environmentalists is really academic. The fact is, AMAX has already invested more than $100 million on mine-oriented work at the site, and the company, Rock insists, isn't walking away from that investment. "We're looking at an ore body that is one of the richest in the world," he says. "There's no question that it'll be developed eventually."
Even the temporarily triumphant Malick admits the battle may just have been joined. "Our job isn't over yet," he says. "If AMAX comes back in five years, 10 years, we'll be here."
It may be time to take a closer look at the latest annual media information guide issued by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn's staff for the benefit of sportswriters and sportscasters covering major league baseball. The guide lists all sorts of useful addresses and phone numbers, including those for the commissioner's office, the American and National League offices, Major League Baseball Promotion Corporation, Major League Baseball Productions, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Major League Scouting Bureau, Player Relations Office, Major League Baseball Umpire Development Program, Association of Professional Baseball Players of America, even the Baseball Chapel. But Kuhn's people haven't yet found it in their hearts to include a listing for the Major League Baseball Players Association. In view of the newsworthy events of this summer, that strikes us as an oversight.
WHERE'S MEMPHIS AND ST. JOE?
Among the rookies in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers camp this summer was a lineman named Denver Johnson, who has a brother named Dallas, another brother named Houston and a sister named Philadelphia. The Johnson family lives in Bowlegs, Okla. Do you suppose those first names are a form of wishful thinking?
The era of the "collapsible" basketball rim is officially here. Designed to prevent both rim-hanging, a dangerous and equipment damaging practice popular among showboating college and high school players, and the sort of backboard-shattering, Chocolate Thunder slam dunks perfected by the NBA's Darryl Dawkins, the new rims feature spring devices that allow them to trip forward when subjected to more than a given amount of pressure. In a trice—faster than the fan's eye can discern—the goal then snaps back to its ready-to-play position, parallel to the floor. The NBA experimented with types of various "collapsible" rims in the 1980 preseason, and the Continental Basketball Association, a minor league, gave a couple of them a season-long tryout during 1980-81. Impressed by the results of these experiments, the NBA has decided to introduce the Snap Back goal manufactured by Kansas-based Toss Back, Inc. in the 1981-82 season. The colleges are also getting into the act in a big way. The Pac-10 and the Western Athletic Conference both used a collapsible rim last season manufactured by Seattle's Slam-Dunk, Inc., and the innovation proved so successful that half a dozen other conferences, including the Big Ten, ACC and SEC, will use the Slam-Dunk goal during the upcoming season.