Court Says Uranium Mine Can Open Near Grand Canyon National Park

April 08, 2015

Environmental groups plan to appeal a federal judge’s decision that would allow a uranium mine south of Grand Canyon National Park to operate.

In 2012, the Obama Administration passed a 20-year ban on new mining claims on more than a million acres of land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park.

The
Bruce Gordon, Ecoflight
The Canyon Mine (foreground) is six miles south of Grand Canyon National Park.

Environmental groups recently sued the Forest Service saying it violated federal law by allowing the Canyon Mine, an old mine, to reopen without going through a new environmental permitting process, coming up with a cleanup plan and consulting with the Havasupai Tribe.

U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell rejected those claims saying the old mining right is valid under the 1872 mining law.

The Grand Canyon Trust’s Roger Clark is concerned about water contamination. He pointed to studies that found contamination in 15 wells and springs near Grand Canyon.

“All of this information is since the 1986 decision by the Forest Service to allow Canyon Mine to mine without any kind of ground water monitoring,” Clark said.

Energy Fuels plans to open Canyon Mine this spring. The price of uranium has picked up to $39 a pound after it dropped to a multi-year low.