Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

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Canyonram
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Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Dec 21 2010 12:14 pm

Denison Mines has applied to the Arizona Dept. of Environmental Quality to mine uranium near the Canyon. There are over 1,000 mining claims within miles of the Park that will watch the decision and then proceed. The debate has been ongoing for a few years---uranium prices dropped in the 1980's but, with the increased interest in nuclear fuel as a power source, prices have gone back up and uranium mining is now more profitable.

For some history on the current move to begin mining:

(dead link removed)

(or use your search box on "uranium mining grand canyon"

For the Denison Mine application:

(dead link removed)

For the Native American perspective:
(dead link removed)
http://www.indigenousaction.org/uranium ... nd-canyon/

There will be public hearings in Flag and Fredonia---during the peak of snow storm season.

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maxpower
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by maxpower » Dec 21 2010 2:30 pm

Maybe it's coincidental too that they've closed off (by signage only) the entrance to Pete Berry's old mine at Horseshoe Mesa? There are now signs that say "Radiation Area, Keep Out" and that section of the Grandview trail has been relocated so that it no longer passes in front of the mine opening that's on the hill above the ruins of the old miner's cabin.
zRadiation.jpg

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Canyonram
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Dec 21 2010 7:02 pm

The mine opening recently was provided with a bat gate to keep hikers out of the mine and allow the bats to fly in and out. I will check with NPS as to the reason the sign is posted----wonder if it is in reference to the tailings/debris?

Next time you are down, look at the fractured cap atop the mine opening---it is a collasped breccia pipe. Miners knew to look for breccia pipes within the Canyon strata since they acted like funnels when the shallow oceans drained---and also collected and concentrated minerals like copper and uranium (but not gold or silver).
Last edited by Canyonram on Jan 17 2011 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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maxpower
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by maxpower » Dec 21 2010 7:31 pm

I was guessing that they wanted hiker traffic to stay away from the entrance to the mine. There are at least 3 signs in the area. The first was where the trail makes a right hand turn to pass by the mine entrance...it now goes straight down the hill to the bottom of the tailings pile. The second sign I noticed (the one in the photo) was at the bottom of the tailing pile where the new trail section meets the one coming up from the cabin ruins. The third sign is on the east side, noticeable when you come up onto the flat from Page Springs. The old trail in front of the mine entrance had been camouflaged with assorted brush and other debris in order to discourage anyone from walking through it. I went through anyway. :D

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PaleoRob
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by PaleoRob » Dec 21 2010 7:32 pm

Looks like I'll have to take my pocket geiger down to Horseshoe Mesa now...
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
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maxpower
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by maxpower » Dec 21 2010 7:37 pm

PageRob wrote:Looks like I'll have to take my pocket geiger down to Horseshoe Mesa now...
You know, I thought the same thing! I used to work as an industrial radiographer and our company tossed out a couple of old radiation survey meters. They weighed a couple of pounds with batteries, but in retrospect I guess I could have grabbed one anyway. :oops: I'm not sure how effective they would have been, but they did measure radiation in MR (milli-roengtens).

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PaleoRob
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by PaleoRob » Dec 21 2010 7:59 pm

I've got an Eco-Test Terra-P. Weighs as much as a soda can, but is more sensitive than the old CD-700s, despite its smaller GM tube. Has to do with digital vs. analog, I believe.
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Canyonram
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Dec 22 2010 10:33 am

The article on the installation of the bat gate at the mine entrance discusses radioactivity in the mine. On page 5 there is a photo of someone taking a reading.

http://minegates.com/grandviewlastchancemine1.htm

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PaleoRob
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by PaleoRob » Dec 22 2010 11:18 am

Neat pictures. Wish I would have been able to see more of the readout on the Geiger picture...
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
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maxpower
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by maxpower » Dec 22 2010 12:16 pm

OK, those photos appear to be of the mine that is about 1/2 way down the trail to Page Springs. The new radiation signs are placed around the upper mine entrance, the first one you come to when approaching Horseshoe Mesa. That's where the trail relocation has been as well. When I was there a week ago, there was no bat gate in this mine entrance. The height of the opening of that mine is considerably smaller than the one close to Page Springs. I'm wondering if they are going to place a bat gate in that upper mine?

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Canyonram
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Dec 23 2010 1:12 pm

The hearing dates for the two public meetings on the Denison Mine proposal:

The Fredonia hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 4 at the Fredonia High School gymnasium, 221 E. Hortt. The Flagstaff hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 6 at the Sinagua Middle School auditorium, 3950 E. Butler Ave.

Be there or be prepared to glow in the dark after your Canyon hike.

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maxpower
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by maxpower » Dec 23 2010 1:35 pm

Canyonram wrote:Be there or be prepared to glow in the dark after your Canyon hike.
Kind of like oversized fireflies! :sl:

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PaleoRob
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by PaleoRob » Dec 23 2010 7:07 pm

Canyonram wrote:Be there or be prepared to glow in the dark after your Canyon hike.
:roll: There's already enough radioactive stuff actually in the canyon (not on the plateaus surrounding the rim) to keep you from getting a good night's sleep if you think too hard about it.
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
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My book, The Marauders on Lulu and Amazon

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Canyonram
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Jan 08 2011 2:07 pm

The report on the public meeting held in Flagstaff on Jan. 6, 2010 here:
http://azdailysun.com/news/local/articl ... 13696.html

Check out the photo of the current mining operation south of Fredonia.

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PaleoRob
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by PaleoRob » Jan 08 2011 2:29 pm

I've been out to that site, back before it reopened.

I guess I don't really see the issue with the aquifers - the uranium is already in the ground, right? If it was going to contaminate the aquifer, its had hundreds of millions of years to do so. There are other issues, certainly, to consider, but dry mines and aquifer contamination sound pretty far fetched...
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
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My book, The Marauders on Lulu and Amazon

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Canyonram
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Jan 08 2011 4:49 pm

PageRob---where do you see that the aquifer contamination is the biggest issue? That is a concern but isn't it the combination of the other problems associated with uranium mining---surface water, contaminated dust in the air, milling waste, etc that will lead to the greatest health impacts?

My understanding of Uranium mining is that it can not be made safe----the very process or extracting the ore results in contamination of air and water. Once brought to the surface, it is there for a very long time to wreck havoc on the environment and human health. The Navajo people suffered at the hands of the uranium mining---and the devastation will never be repaired.

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PaleoRob
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by PaleoRob » Jan 08 2011 4:54 pm

The permits in question were specifically for water quality issues.
"The only thing we did was wrong was staying in the wilderness to long...the only thing we did was right was the day we started to fight..."
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by azbackpackr » Jan 08 2011 5:15 pm

You could use that Geiger counter of yours to locate new mine areas and make a lot of money. But then we might not like you any more. ;)
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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Canyonram
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by Canyonram » Jan 08 2011 6:21 pm

PageRob, You have an interesting perspective on things. In another thread, you expressed concern when I suggested that someone preparing for a Canyon hike break in their boots by walking railroad embankments for the slope and loose gravel. Your concern there was that it might be considered trespassing on railroad property and you correctly pointed that out. Here, you appear as an apologist for the uranimium mining indusrty to proceed with plans to operate uranium mines near the Grand Canyon that could have long-term health effects????

Do you work for the mining industry?

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big_load
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Re: Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon

Post by big_load » Jan 08 2011 6:57 pm

Canyonram wrote: Here, you appear as an apologist for the uranimium mining indusrty to proceed with plans to operate uranium mines near the Grand Canyon that could have long-term health effects????
I really doubt it. He merely pointed out that one particular objection is not a very strong argument. I think don't think the mine itself will have any real impact on groundwater, but I worry much more about the tailings.

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