Second uranium mine to open near Grand Canyon this year
Written byMANUEL QUINONES, Greenwire
Denison Mines Corp. expects to reopen the Pinenut uranium mine near the Grand Canyon in May, according to a press release detailing company plans today.
The announcement comes days after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed a record of decision withdrawing roughly 1 million acres of land around the Grand Canyon National Park from new mining claims for 20 years.
Last year, environmental advocates went to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in an attempt to stop uranium production at Denison's Arizona 1 mine, also near the Grand Canyon (Greenwire, Nov. 29, 2011). However, the mine may run out of uranium as early as this year, CEO Ron Hochstein says.
Apart from reopening Pinenut, Denison said it plans to advance permitting of the company's EZ mines, north of the national park. The company expects to produce 1.4 million pounds of uranium from U.S. operations this year.
The Denison mines are within the withdrawal area announced by Salazar, but the withdrawal only affects new mining, not existing claims. The Interior Department's environmental impact statement for the withdrawal predicts the development of up to 11 additional uranium mines there, compared to 30 had the administration not acted.