Grand Canyon Mine: Uranium Mining Put On Hold

Mining works at the Grand Canyon National Park have been put on hold. A uranium mining company had been sinking a shaft for a mine in the southern area of the park, but that work is now on hold due to “market conditions” and “other expenses.”

The mining company, Energy Fuels Resources Inc., said that the project will be on hold until at least December next year. The company will now be looking at a new time frame for the extracting of more than 80 tons of material to facilitate production of 1.6 million pounds of processed uranium.

The president of Energy Fuels, Stephen Antony, said that the mine is still a vital part of the company’s medium-term plans. He also confirmed that he will continue to work with the Forest Service to ensure the project is approved.

There has been a drop in the value of uranium which is currently around $35 per pound, which represents a five-year low in its value. Sandy Bahr from the Sierra Club said:

“Obviously this is an indication that it doesn’t look good from an economic perspective. We obviously think that it has never looked good from an environmental perspective. It would be nice if they would also recognize that aspect of it and make the shutdown permanent.”

The Grand Canyon mine itself is almost one million acres in size and has been legally “off-limits” to any new mining claims from 2012. Existing companies who could prove they had sufficient quantity and quality of mineral resources could continue to mine.

At the beginning of 2013, the courts denied the plaintiff’s request for an injunction. That ruling was challenged with the 9th Circuit U.S Court of appeals.

The Grand Canyon mine was acquired by Energy Fuels last year from Denison Mines Corp. The bulk of the surface work have been already completed, including the hoist, evaporation ponds, and environmental monitoring facilities.