Southern Utah mine being chipped away by visitors; hurting small town business owner
(KUTV) To many in southern Utah it's known as the “Glitter Mine” but to one Veyo business owner, Russ Feller, it’s more than that, it’s his livelihood.
Feller owns “Feller Stone” a local stone business that sells product all around the country. For over 20 years Feller has had claim to four mines in the region. One of those is the “Glitter Mine” which produces the mineral selenite, nicknamed “Utah Ice.”
This mine sits on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, but the materials are privately owned by Feller.
A big problem that Feller is running into right now is people bringing their own picks, shovels, heavy machinery and chipping away at his claim. Feller tells 2News the problem isn’t just the money, it’s also a safety hazard.
"There could be a rock fall…it's a liability,” Feller said and it’s threatening his business, “Nibbling away at taking our profits."
Feller estimates he’s lost 3-4 tons of selenite in the last two years thanks to rock collectors.
For a 12-pound chunk of selenite that equals out to be about “retail that could be 15-25 dollars” Feller said and that adds up.
The reason for this problem is due to social media. The BLM have been assisting Feller for months in spreading the word about his claim to the mine and Rachel Carnahan with the BLM said people believe this mine is abandoned, which is false information.
Since Feller has the rights to this claim, technically he doesn’t have to allow the public to take materials from his mine but over the years he’s been okay with it, as long as people aren’t greedy.
“If you want to take little pieces fine, but don't bring your backpacks and your shovels and picks, that's not appropriate." Feller said.