Photograph of a smokestack at the Durango Uranium-Vanadium Plant. This may be the smokestack that was on the building shown in photograph NMHFM-113. The building with this smokestack was built sometime in the late 1800s and must have been part of the original lead-zinc smelter operation at the site. In 1942 the United States Vanadium Company converted the smelter to a mill where vanadium concentrate was extracted from carnotite ore. It closed in 1946 and was later purchased by the Vanadium Corporation of America (V.C.A.). During the 1950s, it was one of the largest uranium-vanadium plants in the U.S. and processed carnotite and roscoelite ores from several mines in the Colorado Plateau area. The uranium and vanadium were extracted at the plant by salt roasting crushed ore then leaching and precipitating the uranium concentrate (yellow cake) and vanadium concentrate (red cake). During the uranium boom of the 1950s, the V.C.A. had contracts to supply uranium to the Atomic Energy Commission.
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