Energy Fuels announced on April 8 that the United States District Court for the District of Arizona had denied a challenge by the Havasupai Native American tribe and three environmental groups—Grand Canyon Trust, Center for Biological Diversity, and Sierra Club—to the company’s right to develop and operate its Canyon uranium mine in northern Arizona.
The Canyon mine property is located on U.S. Forest Service land six miles from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The property has passed through the hands of several owners since it was discovered in the late 1970s. A mine was approved by the U. S. Forest Service and partially developed in the late 1980s.
Energy Fuels acquired the property in June 2012, when it acquired the U.S. assets of Denison Mines.
The District Court’s decision affirmed Energy Fuels right to continue with mine development and uranium production at the Canyon mine in accordance with previously obtained rights and regulatory approvals. In his order, Judge David G. Campbell granted summary judgment in favor of the U.S. Forest Service and Energy Fuels, and ordered the plaintiffs’ action terminated.
The court rejected all of the plaintiffs’ claims, including claims alleging non-compliance with certain environmental and cultural procedural laws. The court also found that the U.S. Forest Service properly consulted with the Havasupai tribe when Energy Fuels decided to resume active mining operations. No substantive environmental, health, or safety issues were asserted by the plaintiffs.
The district court’s decision is subject to appeal.
Surface development at the Canyon mine currently includes a headframe, evaporation pond, hoist, environmental controls, and an office/maintenance facility. To complete the mine, Energy Fuels expects to sink an additional 1,200 ft of shaft, install a ventilation shaft, and complete underground development.
The Canyon mine property hosts an inferred resource of 82,000 mt at an average grade of 0.98% U3O8, containing approximately 1.63 million lb of U3O8.