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Company disputes Coconino supervisors’ opposition to uranium mine near Grand Canyon

The company, which owns an active uranium mine 16 miles off the Grand Canyon's South Rim, is asking the Coconino County Board of Supervisors to rescind a recent resolution calling for the mine to close.

A five-page letter from Mark Chalmers, president and CEO of Energy Fuels Resources, said the regulators' Feb. 20 unanimous resolution contained “false and defamatory statements” about the Pinyon Plain mine. It states that it contains “allegations''.

He wrote that the mine is regulated by state and federal agencies and laws that protect public health and the environment. Chalmers also said his scientific research shows the mine will not pollute local water resources.

The board's resolution called for the site to be closed due to concerns about the potential impact of uranium mining on groundwater.

Supervisors also noted that they and other local tribes say they pose a threat to sacred cultural sites.

At a minimum, the board said more rigorous water and air quality testing is needed.

A county spokesperson did not comment directly on the letter, but told KNAU that the board stands against uranium mining near the valley.

Last summer, President Joe Biden's designation of the Grand Canyon National Monument as “Burge Nwabujo Ita Kukuveni – Footprints of Our Ancestors” prohibited new uranium mining claims on about 1 million acres.

Although the Pinyon Plain Mine is located within the monument, existing rights have allowed it to continue operating.

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