The History of Uranium Mining and the Navajo People
A comprehensive history of the Navajo Miner's Experience with Uranium Mining since its start in the 1905ies

Obama administration stops new uranium mining around the Grand Canyon until December 2011 (2011, en)

Help us make sure this temporary action becomes a permanent ban
Secretary Salazar urged the Administration to adopt Earthworks' recommendation of a more permanent, full one million acre withdrawal. The land surrounding the national park is now protected until December while the Administration works on a more comprehensive solution.

Support Earthworks! This a great victory for our most famous national landmark and for the 26 million people across the Southwest who rely on the Colorado River for their water needs!
These one million acres have been off limits to mining for the past two years, but the ban was due to expire on July 20.

The emergency withdrawal maintains the moratorium while the Administration completes a final Environmental Impact Statement and evaluates a 20-year mineral withdrawal. A final decision is expected this fall.
There are 3,500 active uranium mining claims within the protected area. Uranium mining near the Grand Canyon is a huge gamble we can't afford to take.
With your support, Earthworks will make sure the Obama Administration knows that you and millions of other Americans want to permanently protect these one million acres from new mining claims.

Please give generously today so that Earthworks can protect the Grand Canyon for another generation.
klick here for more information and your support: Earthworks

Mining ban extended in Grand Canyon (Center for biological diversity, 2011, en)

Mining ban extended in Grand Canyon
For Immediate Release, June 20, 2011
Contact: Randy Serraglio, (520) 784-1504

1 Million Acres of Grand Canyon Watershed Protected From Uranium Mining

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK— Interior Secretary Ken Salazar extended interim protections from uranium mining today for Grand Canyon’s 1-million-acre watershed through the end of 2011; the secretary also announced his support for a 20-year mineral withdrawal across the same area. Both protections ban new claims and block new mining on existing, unproven claims.  
The announcement quells fears that a two-year mining prohibition issued by Salazar in July 2009 would expire, opening the door to new mining claims and resulting mine development. Public lands around Grand Canyon National Park have been ground zero for new uranium mining that threatens to industrialize iconic wildlands and permanently pollute aquifers feeding Grand Canyons springs and streams.
“The world would never forgive the permanent pollution of Grand Canyon’s precious aquifers and springs or the industrialization of its surrounding wildlands,” said Randy Serraglio of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The only sure way to prevent pollution of the Grand Canyon is to prevent uranium mining, and today’s action makes important progress toward that goal.”
Salazar today directed the Bureau of Land Management to designate the withdrawal of the full 1-million-acre watershed from new mining claims as its preferred alternative in its ongoing environmental analysis of the issue, scheduled to be released in the fall.
“This is good news for the Grand Canyon, but we are disappointed that Secretary Salazar continues to show such enthusiasm for the mining of existing claims,” said Serraglio. “We hope the ‘caution, wisdom and science’ cited by the secretary as being so important in managing this precious area will lead to strong decisions to protect it from further pollution by uranium mining.”
Uranium pollution already plagues the Grand Canyon region. Proposals for new mining have prompted protests, litigation and proposed legislation. Scientists, tribal and local governments, and businesses have voiced opposition to new mining operations. Dozens of new mines threaten to industrialize stunning and often sacred wildlands, destroy wildlife habitat and permanently pollute or deplete aquifers feeding Grand Canyon’s biologically rich springs.
The segregation and withdrawal would prohibit new mining claims and mining on claims without “valid existing rights” to mine. Several claims within the withdrawal area that predate the 2009 segregation order will be grandfathered in; those are still vulnerable to mining.
In 2009 the Bureau of Land Management allowed mining to resume at the Arizona 1 mine within the withdrawal area and immediately north of Grand Canyon without first updating 1980s-era environmental reviews. The Havasupai Tribe, the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, the Center, Sierra Club and Grand Canyon Trust challenged that mine’s reopening in federal court — one of four lawsuits brought by the Center relating to uranium mining in the region since 2008. That suit is ongoing.
“Grand Canyon and the surrounding areas are some of the most recognized and prized landscapes in the United States. Allowing further uranium mining would cause untold damage and leave future generations asking why we didn’t do more to stop it,” Serraglio said. “That’s why we’ll keep defending the Grand Canyon and working to reform the antiquated 1872 mining law so that federal agencies finally have clear authority to deny mining proposals that threaten irretrievable damage to our public lands.”
Center for Biological Deversity, Tucson

Video: Protect the Grand Canyon from GOP Uranium Mining Plan (2011, en)

Mining inside the Grand Canyon National Park left Horn Creek radioactive and undrinkable. Visitors to the area are warned not to drink from the Creek unless, "death by thirst is the only other option". Legislation being offered by the Republicans in the House would lead to a dramatic increase in the amount of mining around Grand Canyon National Park. Rep. Ed Markey, Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee discusses this and other issues at a Natural Resources Committee hearing on September 14, 2011


You tube:


bei YouTube hochgeladen von  am 14.09.2011

Take action today to stop uranium mining near Grand Canyon! & Uranium foes: Where's the benefit? (Sun Staff, 2011, en)


(Attached images from ADEQ: 1. Uranium hauling routes 2. Canyon Mine)

Denison Mines Corp., a Canadian corporation has submitted water and air quality permit applications to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) in an attempt to operate uranium mines near the Grand Canyon.

Not only do these mines directly threaten the Ecoregion of the Grand Canyon, they further corporate attacks on community health, environment and sacred places.

These mines include the currently operating Arizona 1 Mine and the proposed Pinenut and EZ mines north of the Grand Canyon and the proposed Canyon Mine on the south rim near Red Butte, a site held holy by the Havasupai Nation.

The legacy of uranium mining in the region has been so harmful that the Dine' (Navajo), Hualapai, and Havasupai Nations have all banned uranium mining and activity on their lands.
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has documented well water as undrinkable in at least 22 communities on the Dine’ Nation. The EPA states that, “Approximately 30 percent of the Navajo population does not have access to a public drinking water system and may be using unregulated water sources with uranium contamination."

The Colorado river which, flows through the Grand Canyon, supplies water for drinking and agricultural use for up to 27 million people.

If all the permits are allowed, up to 12 trucks per day would haul uranium ore from each of the mines to a processing mill in Blanding, Utah.
The haul routes would take uranium ore from the various mines through the communities of Fredonia, Kanab, Williams, Flagstaff, Cameron, Tuba City, and Kayenta.

The ADEQ air quality permits and Department of Transportation regulations would merely require Denison to "cover the haul truck loads with a tarp and maintain the truck beds to ensure that ore does not fall out." (ADEQ Denison Mines Permitting and Uranium Mining Facts, Questions & Answers November 2010)

Although environmental groups have successfully lobbied the US Secretary of Interior to suspend new uranium claims in a 5 mile buffer zone near the Grand Canyon, the suspension does not include pre-existing claims such as Denison's.

Today there estimated to be more than 8,000 applications for uranium mining operations in the Grand Canyon region.

Uranium foes: Where's the benefit?

CYNDY COLE Sun Staff Reporter | Posted: Saturday, January 8, 2011 5:00 am

A Canadian mining company is proposing to open three more mines in northern Arizona -- two southwest of Fredonia in Mohave County and one 6 miles southeast of Tusayan that formerly generated deep tribal opposition.
This comes after Denison Mines reopened the area's first uranium mine on the Arizona Strip in December 2009, removing ore to process at the company's mill in southeastern Utah.
Environmentalists, local residents and tribal members told the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality not to issue the permits to allow the mines to open during a Thursday night hearing at Sinagua Middle School.
Although they don't control the mining decisions on these federal public lands, the Coconino County Board of Supervisors and the Flagstaff City Council have each passed resolutions opposing renewed uranium mining.
The Colorado Plateau has some of the more concentrated uranium deposits found in North America.
The Interior Department is considering a request by some to put federal lands on both sides of the Grand Canyon off-limits to mining, but mining claims that pre-date that decision can still open.
Nearly 100 people attended Thursday's forums, some coming from as far away as Havasupai.
Physician and medical anthropologist Allison Clough, of Northern Arizona University, read a list of common health problems associated with uranium mining, including increased rates of leukemia.
"Uranium mining will not lastingly or meaningfully enrich the peoples of the Colorado Plateau," she told ADEQ.
Some cried at the microphone, and others were incensed.
"Uranium has already seriously harmed our communities, and you're considering allowing three more mines to open," said Klee Benally.
If approved, the three mines would operate with some environmental permits approved in the mid-1980s; the Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity are contending those permits are too old.
The Canyon Mine 6 miles southeast of Tusayan (south of the Grand Canyon) was explored in 1978 and permitted to operate in 1986, when mining infrastructure was added but not put to work.
If cleared to open, unrefined ore from that mine is projected to come south to Interstate 40, then through Flagstaff and western portions of the Navajo Nation, including Kayenta.
"It's a shame. If this should happen, it would go through our community," said Kayenta Chapter President Stanley Clitso, who says he lost relatives due to uranium-related illness.
"... Presently, our people are still greatly affected by the atrocities that have occurred," he said.
Another speaker, Flagstaff resident Jim McCarthy, raised the point repeated by many other speakers: A mistake of any size in this new round of uranium mining could be irreversible.
He raised the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station that released radioactive gases in 1979, the most substantial accident in United States nuclear power generation.
The cause? One malfunctioning valve.
"What blew me away is that they didn't even consider what could happen if the valve failed open," rather than failing when closed, McCarthy said.
McCarthy's company was in the valve-making business at the time.
Author and river runner Michael Ghiglieri asked what the local economic or other benefits of mining would be, given possible environmental risks.
"When there are zero potential gains, why would you take any risks?" he asked.
It's not a company's job to think in these terms for environmental risks, but it is the job of a group of state agents is tasked with protecting the environment, he told ADEQ.
"I beseech you to think very carefully about the consequences of your actions," he said, "because no one will ever forgive you."

Cyndy Cole can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 913-8607.



The environmental justice Journal (2008)

Environmental Justice Journal

(please click to download this article)

... which explains our work in Owe Aku to protect our sacred water from the uranium mining in Crawford, NE and the proposed mining in Edgemont, SD in our sacred He Sapa. It is about 40 pages, please feel free to print, and share, or post on your FB wall, or email to friends, allies, and relatives. This uranium mining impacts us all and our coming generations, our plants, and animals that drink the water.
Thanks for taking time to read it, and for passing it along to others.  We must be willing to take time to educate ourselves, relatives, and friends, and encourage others to do the same. This is our drinking water being contaminated and threatened by new mining projects. Radioactivity and arsenic etc take hundreds or thousands of years to go away. We need to stop the mining corporations before they contaminate the water forever. We have stopped Cameco corporation from beginning their 2nd mine-North Trend-for the past 4 years, they have not been able to dig one shovel of dirt since we started our work.  We have to oppose their 3rd and 4th mines, Marsland and Three Crow. 
I was thinking if I send this to you all, and you all read it and become aware, and if you each pass it along to 10 people, who read it, and pass it along to 10 people, etc -from this one little email, as many as 5 thousand people (more if we keep it going!) can have access to this Environmental Justice Journal in the next couple of days. Owe Aku has no funds right now, but we can't let that stop us from trying to get the word out there!  This is our Treaty Land, our Human Right to clean water, no one is going to fight this battle for us, we must fight this battle ourselves! Please stand up with us and help get the word out! If you can email me back, in a clean email, without the attachment, to let me know you received this and have sent it out, I would appreciate it soo much! Thank you my relatives, friends, and allies.
Debra White Plume  


this is a grassroots movement by the Lakota tiyospaye.  If you would like to help with this work any donations are welcome. 
Please make checks payable to:  Owe Aku and mail to:

Owe Aku
P.O Box 325
Manderson, SD  57756

You can also go to our international website at and make a paypal donation.  Please indicate that the donation is for Environmental Justice work.  Pila Maya to read more

The history of mining and the navajo people (Am. Journal of Public Health, 2002)

The History of Uranium Mining and the Navajo People

A comprehensive history of the Navajo Miner's Experience with Uranium Mining since its start in the 1905ies

Doug Brugge, PhD, MS, and Rob Goble, PhD

From World War II until 1971, the government was the sole purchaser of uranium ore in the United States. Uranium mining occurred mostly in the southwestern United States
and drew many Native Americans and others into work in the mines and mills. Despite a long and well-developed understanding,based on the European experience earlier in
the century, that uranium mining led to high rates of lung cancer, few protections were provided for US miners before 1962 and their adoption after that time was slow and incomplete.
The resulting high rates of illness among miners led in 1990 to passage of the Radiation Exposure Compensation

... read more

A common enemy: nuclear radiation (Indian country Today, 2011, en)

"The tragic events in Japan have helped us to see that, ultimately,
the laws of nature will win out."

Press release

A common enemy: Nuclear radiation

by Steven Newcomb
Indian Country Today
March 26, 2011

The 9.0 earthquake in Japan on March 11 and ensuing tsunami is a
reminder: It is difficult for the human mind to grasp the full power
of Mother Earth, and the devastation she is capable of when she
quakes. But it is the man made catastrophe in Japan that is truly
mind-boggling. I refer to the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima
nuclear reactors and the disturbing and deadly release of
radioactivity in Japan. Our hearts ought to go out to the people of
Japan and to all the beings living in that region of the Earth.

On the use of nuclear energy and the testing of nuclear bombs, the
late Western Shoshone spiritual leader Corbin Harney said: “Our land
is suffering on account of nuclear testing and uranium mining. We have
to preserve this Earth. We rely on this Earth to give us food,
clothing, and all the luxury that we have. Everything is here for us
to use, but nuclear energy is not the way to continue with what we

Problematische Uran-Gewinnung: Der Wilde Westen strahlt stärker als Fukushima (Frankfurter Rundschau, 2011, ger)

Autor:  Andreas Geldner

  Datum:  14 | 7 | 2011

Problematische Uran-Gewinnung
Der Wilde Westen strahlt stärker als Fukushima

Wo die USA ihr Uran gewinnen, verseuchen die Minen die Umwelt massiv
mit Radioaktivität – viele Indianer müssen darunter leiden.

RAPID CITY - Die massiven Würfel sehen aus, als habe sie ein Riese achtlos in der Prärie verstreut. Bis zum Horizont liegen die nummerierten Boxen im weiten hügeligen Nordwesten von Nebraska in der Landschaft. Sie sehen harmlos aus, doch sie markieren Hunderte Bohrlöcher, die aus 300 Metern Tiefe eine toxische Brühe aus Wasser und Mineralienschlamm zutage fördern. Der Schatz, der heute im Westen der USA, dem einstigen Land der Goldsucher, gehoben wird, ist Uran – für Kernkraftwerke in aller Welt. In einem Blechschuppen neben dem weitläufigen Fördergelände wird täglich eine Tonne Urankonzentrat aus dem Schlamm gelöst.

Vor dem Eingang der Crow-Butte-Mine verdunstet das Schmutzwasser dann in der Sommerhitze. Der Wind weht radioaktives Radon in die nahe Ortschaft Crawford, deren Friedhof die makabre Kulisse liefert: die Grabkreuze liegen vor der Förderanlage. Der Geologe Hannan LaGarry hat einen Lehrstuhl an einem College im benachbarten Indianerreservat Pine Ridge in South Dakota und ist hier der Störenfried. Er hat sich nicht nur den Hippiebart bewahrt, sondern auch einen für die konservative Gegend ausgeprägten Widerspruchsgeist.

LaGarry sammelt Fakten und Beobachtungen zum Uranabbau. Etwa den Bericht eines Arztes in Crawford, aus dessen Wasserhahn immer dann, wenn die Pumpen an den Bohrlöchern surren, grünliches Wasser kommt. Obwohl das Schürfunternehmen Cameco beteuert, man erfülle alle Auflagen und sei sich „sehr sicher“, dass das Grundwasser geschützt sei. „Alle radioaktiven Emissionen aus allen Aktivitäten unseres Betriebes sind sehr niedrig“, sagt Pressesprecher Kenneth Vaughn. Messergebnisse sind aber auf mehrfache Anfrage nicht zu erhalten.

Narben des Atomzeitalters

Der Geologe LaGarry sagt, die Genehmigung der 1991 eröffneten Mine habe auf veralteten Daten beruht. „Das war der Wissenstand von vor 50, 60 Jahren.

Heute mehren sich Indizien, dass man die Anlage nie hätte betreiben dürfen. Die Brüche und Falten, wo das angeblich eingedämmte Schmutzwasser davonfließt, siehst du sogar aus dem Weltall.“ Cameco sagt, ein Risiko sei ausgeschlossen.

Es gibt viele Narben des Atomzeitalters in Nebraska, South Dakota und Wyoming, die meisten sind Jahrzehnte alt. Von mindestens 270 verlassenen Minen spricht die Umweltorganisation „Defenders of the Black Hills“ allein im Westen South Dakotas. Saniert wurden diese Hinterlassenschaften nie.

Während Deutschland den Atomausstieg wagt, tun die USA das Gegenteil. Selbst nach dem Unglück von Fukushima ist der Ausbau der Kernkraft eines der wenigen Felder, auf denen sich Demokraten und Republikaner einig sind. Das Uran soll verstärkt aus dem eigenen Land kommen. Dafür ist der Westen ein ergiebiges Terrain. Er ist dünn besiedelt und hat mit Umweltvorschriften wenig am Hut. Dank einer neuen Fördermethode, die das Uran mit Hilfe von in die Tiefe gepumptem Wasser zutage fördert, ist der Abbau wieder lukrativ geworden. Doch niemand kennt die langfristigen ökologischen Folgen. Hannan LaGarry kann sich die kritischen Fragen nur leisten, weil er Rückendeckung von seinem indianischen College hat. Sein früherer Arbeitgeber, eine staatliche Universität in Nebraska, drohte ihm mit Entlassung, als er begann, die Uranmine unter die Lupe zu nehmen. „Ich kenne zwei staatliche Geologen, die ihren Job verloren haben, weil sie kritische Analysen über die Uranindustrie erstellten. Es gibt nur ein Häuflein Ökologen und die Indianer, die nicht einzuschüchtern sind“ sagt er. Solange vor allem die Indianer von Umweltfolgen betroffen sind, schauen die weißen Politiker der Region weg. „Das ist South Dakota. Das ist der Wilde Westen“, sagt die indianische Umweltaktivistin Charmaine White Face. Seit langem ist bekannt, dass das Wasser im Reservat der Sioux mit Radioaktivität und anderen in den alten Minen anfallenden Giftstoffen wie Arsen verseucht ist.

Die US-Umweltbehörde schloss in den vergangenen Jahren mehrere Brunnen. Nachdem in einer Familie des Reservats drei Töchter, die Mutter und die Großeltern an Krebs gestorben waren, ergaben Messungen katastrophale Werte. „Es gibt Orte, wo die Gammastrahlung das Risiko für tödliche Krebserkrankungen 858 Mal erhöht“, sagt White Face, deren „Defenders of the Black Hills“ auf eigene Kosten überall in der Region Wasserproben entnehmen ließen. Die Behörden messen nicht systematisch. Das sei zu teuer, heißt es.

Flucht in den Bankrott

Die Bedrohung beschränkt sich nicht auf die Indianerreservate. Im Nordwesten von North Dakota, in einem winzigen Ort namens Ludlow, steht eine Grundschule direkt neben dem Gelände einer ehemaligen Mine. Hier wurde kürzlich eine Strahlenbelastung von fast 18 Mikrosievert pro Stunde gemessen. In weniger als zweieinhalb Tagen wird hier die Dosis überschritten, die in Deutschland als tolerabler Wert für ein ganzes Jahr gilt. An anderen Stellen rings um den Ort wird das Strahlenlimit, das japanischen Schulkindern nahe Fukushima zugemutet werden darf, um das Sechs- bis Achtfache übertroffen. Doch eine oberflächliche Abdichtung der Mine mit Plastikplanen scheiterte schon im Ansatz. Die US-Bundesregierung hatte dafür zwölf Millionen Dollar (rund 8,5 Millionen Euro) vorgesehen. Der frühere Eigentümer, der sich beteiligen sollte, flüchtete in den Bankrott. „Das konnte mit dem bisschen Geld nie funktionieren“, sagt Charmaine White Face. Zum Vergleich: Die Kosten zur Sanierung des ehemaligen Wismut-Uranbergbaus der früheren DDR werden mit 6,5 Milliarden Euro veranschlagt. Hinter der Schule von Ludlow warnt nun lediglich ein kleines gelbes Schild davor, das Gelände mehr als 24 Stunden im Jahr zu betreten. In Crawford sind Attacken auf die Mine als größten Arbeitgeber des Ortes unpopulär. „Hier im Westen sind die Leute wenig mit der Gegend verwurzelt, in der sie leben“, sagt der Geologe LaGarry. „Wenn es schlimm wird, kann ich ja wegziehen, sagen sie sich. Die einzigen, die sich engagieren, weil sie sich mit dem Land verbunden fühlen, sind die Indianer.“

Link zum Artikel - Frankfurter Rundschau