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The way it was: Union Carbide, 1976

The way it was: Union Carbide -- 1976

Jun 17, 2012 - Staff

A generation ago, Fremont County's economy had an industrial flavor far stronger than exists today. A half dozen uranium mines teemed with workers and huge machines. An iron ore mine employed hundreds in the mountains near South Pass, with a full-blown railroad snaking through the trees to reach it.

In 1975, one of the busy employers locally was the Union Carbide uranium mining operation in the Gas Hills east of Riverton, with 165 full-time workers on the job -- heavy equipment operators, surveyors and engineers, soil and water scientists, office personnel and support staff.

Central to the operation was the big open-put uranium mine in the remote hinterlands about 50 miles from any permanently populated area. Carbide, active since the 1950s at the site, was an early mining reclamation leader as well, blending disturbed "overburden" into contours complementary to the surrounding landscape and re-seeding with native plants.

Photo: General superintendent Jim Massey (with glasses) and mine foreman Clyde Fabrizius at the rim of the Union Carbide uranium mine, pictured on June 20, 1975. File photo

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