Canyon Uranium Mine
The Canyon Mine is a uranium mine located about 6 miles southeast of the town of Tusayan on the Tusayan Ranger District. The entire mine site is about 17 acres in size. Uranium ore production has never occurred at the site, as the mine shaft has not yet been fully sunk.
As of November 2015, Energy Fuels Resources resumed shaft sinking operations at Canyon Mine. There is significant existing infrastructure at the site including a headframe, evaporation pond, hoist and a partially-sunk shaft. Several hundred feet of shaft still need to be sunk prior to any ore production occurring at the mine. There is no estimated date on when ore production will occur, but the additional shaft sinking and other needed work being performed by Energy Fuels Resources now will likely take many months to complete.
The Kaibab National Forest has been involved in litigation regarding Canyon Mine since March 2013. On April 7, 2015, the U.S. District Court found in favor of the U.S. Forest Service in a lawsuit filed by Grand Canyon Trust, Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and Havasupai Tribe.
On April 14, 2015, the Havasupai Tribe filed a Notice of Appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and on April 27, 2015, the Grand Canyon Trust, Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club followed suit. The case remains at the 9th Circuit.
There are approximately 1,629,000 lbs. of U3O8 at Canyon, contained in 82,800 tons of inferred resource at an average grade of 0.98% U3O8. Uranium deposits are located within northern Arizona breccia pipes, which are vertical cylindrical bodies of broken sedimentary rock. Over the past half century, there has been intense interest in these uranium resources. Uranium is managed as a locatable mineral on federal land including National Forests. For locatable mineral policy and additional information on U.S. Forest Service Minerals and Geology Management, please visit www.fs.fed.us/geology.
Mineral Withdrawal and Valid Existing Rights:
Canyon Mine is located within the area segregated in 2009 and then ultimately withdrawn in the Northern Arizona Withdrawal process by the Secretary of Interior on January 9, 2012. Mining claims at the Canyon Mine were evaluated by U.S. Forest Service mineral examiners with regard to valid existing rights under the 1872 Mining Law. This mineral examination, completed on April 18, 2012, confirmed the existence of valid existing rights.
Canyon Mine Review:
Also in 2012, the Kaibab National Forest completed a review of the Canyon Mine Plan of Operations and all other associated approval documentation and determined that no modification or amendment to the existing Plan of Operations was necessary; that no correction, supplementation, or revision to the environmental document was required; and that operations at Canyon Mine could continue as a result of no further federal authorization being required. That review was completed June 25, 2012.
In October 1984, Energy Fuels Nuclear submitted a proposed Plan of Operations to mine uranium from the Canyon claims. The U.S. Forest Service completed an Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate the plan, including significant comment and input from federally recognized tribes. The final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision were issued on September 29, 1986, approving the Plan of Operations with modifications. Mine site surface preparation activities began in late 1986. Appeals of this decision were made to the Southwestern Regional Forester and the Chief of the Forest Service, who both affirmed the Forest Supervisor’s decision. The Havasupai Tribe and others then sued over this decision in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. The District Court ruled for the U.S. Forest Service on all counts, and a subsequent appeal was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed the District Court on August 16, 1991.