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Grand Canyon Uranium Mining Set To Go Ahead Despite Ban From Obama

Uranium mining on the doorstep of the Grand Canyon national park is set to go ahead in 2015 despite a ban imposed last year by Barack Obama.

Energy Fuels Resources has been given federal approval to reopen its old Canyon Mine, located six miles south of the canyon’s popular South Rim entrance, that attracts nearly 5 million visitors a year.

The Canadian company says that the Obama administration’s ban on new hard-rock mining over 1m acres doesn’t apply because its rights date from when it closed over 20 years ago.

After the end of the cold war around 1990, demand for uranium dropped and so did its price. Now, with the global uranium market booming, companies are moving to reopen old claims. Observers say the outcome of the lawsuit is important, because it could serve as a bellwether for how future attempts to re-open old uranium mining claims in the area will go. There are over 3,000 mines in the Grand Canyon area that hold such claims.

“A lot of people out there want their piece of the park,” said Dave Uberuaga, superintendent of Grand Canyon national park, citing “incredible pressure” from mining and other industries to develop land in the area. “My number one challenge is protecting this place,” he said. “We can’t take it for granted.”

Source: Guardian

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