Preteen Halts Mine Operation

Company fools officials, but not the Larsons.


Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Score one for young girls everywhere. When Iron Mining Group began extracting ore from the Orogrande mine in Orogrande, New Mexico, 10-year-old Caitlyn Larson and her family got curious. The company had regraded several roads and disturbed an area the Larsons knew contained golden eagle nests. So Caitlyn wrote to New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, President Barack Obama, drafted a press release, and started “Save.our.Mountains” on Facebook. Between Caitlyn’s letters, her Facebook page’s 120 fans, and the 337 signatures she collected for a petition, she got the attention of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division. As it turned out, IMG was operating without proper permits, and regulators quickly shut down the operations. According to an Iron Mining Group press release, the company was scheduled to ship around 180,000 metric tons of unearthed ore to China, the first of a planned 5.98 million tons. For now, the iron will have to stay put until state and federal agencies can evaluate the project and issue proper permits.

Read more at the Alamogordo Daily News.