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Reopening of Mine Causes Stir in Navajo Nation Leadership

Reopening of Mine Causes Stir in Navajo Nation Leadership
December 16
08:43 2015

The Mt. Taylor Mine has been inactive for 25 years. Rio Grande Resources Corp., a subsidiary of General Atomics, acquired the mine from Chevron in 1991. The company said the mine was kept idle due to a depressed market for uranium.

The Mt. Taylor Mine supposedly holds the largest uranium source in the U.S.

“We want the state agency to deny the permit,” said Loena Morgan of Dine No Nukes.

The grassroots group also wants the mine owners to be ordered to clean up the site so it no longer poses health risks to the community.

The Rio Grande Resources Corp. had asked the New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division to exclude public comment from its request to open the mine.

“Mt. Taylor is a zombie mine,” said Susan Gordon, coordinator of the non-profit Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment. The mine was neither producing, nor cleaning up its mess, she argued.

Gordon sees the permit application as a ploy for the mine owners to  avoid reclamation.

The mine is located near San Mateo, N.M. Mount Taylor is on the State Register of Cultural Properties.

In addition to the Navajo opposition, at least three of the Pueblos are also against the mine reopening.

Some 100 people attended a state uranium hearing in Grants, N.M. earlier this month.

 

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