Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Denison talks about uranium mining on Arizona Strip

The vice president of Denison Mines told the Arizona Ad Hoc Committee on Mining Regulations yesterday that the Grand Canyon and uranium mining have gotten along just fine for the past 50 years. Harold Roberts came in from Denver to describe the company's plans to start mining at the Arizona #1 mine and others as permits are approved. [right, Denison's mines and projects in the Arizona Strip. Credit, Denison Mines]

He warned that the federal segregation of nearly 1 million acres of lands from mining claims has the potential to be a "100% deal killer for uranium mining in Arizona."

Roberts said the U.S. imports 90% of our uranium for use in nuclear power plants. He said that the Arizona Strip region contains "carbon-free energy equal to 13 billion barrels of oil" and the uranium deposits are among the richest in the U.S.

He argued that modern mining techniques and the nature of the uranium-bearing breccia pipes means that the size of mining operations is a small fraction of previous mining operations and post mining reclamation will leave little or no trace. The mines are expected to be operational for only a few years each.

On my drive home from the hearing in Phoenix, I heard a radio news report that the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, and Grand Canyon Trust, had filed a lawsuit against the BLM for permitting the Arizona #1 mine.

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