Uranium mining appears ready to surgeadmin
Uranium mining in the United States may be about to surge, a spike in claims being filed indicates.
In five Western states where uranium is mined, 43,153 claims were filed last year, up from 4,333 in 2004, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday. The area of interest includes near the Grand Canyon, where U.S. Interior Department records show there are more than 1,100 claims within five miles of the national park, compared to only 10 in 2003, the Times said.
The closure of some mines in Canada and West Africa, combined with plans for more nuclear power plants around the world, has pushed up the price of uranium from $9.70 a pound in 2002 to $65 a pound last week, the newspaper noted.
The possibility of more U.S. mines has sent environmental groups to the federal courts and Congress to try to head off any mining near the Grand Canyon and other sensitive areas, the Times said. Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., has introduced legislation to withdraw 1 million acres of federal land around the Grand Canyon park from consideration for mining.
However, the measure would not stop claims already staked.
“If you can’t stop mining at the Grand Canyon, where can you stop it?” asked Richard Wiles, executive director of the Environmental Working Group.