Controversial uranium mine near the Grand Canyon put on hold

Controversial uranium mine near the Grand Canyon put on holdLawsuits expenses and market conditions that saw the price of uranium plunge, forced Canadian Energy Fuels Resources (TSX: EFR) to halt work at its uranium mine near the Grand Canyon national park in Arizona, U.S.

According to Associated Press, the Toronto-based company said the operation will be on hold until December next year or until a ruling is issued in a federal case challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to allow mining near the Canyon.

Controversy around Energy Fuels’ project sparked in April this year, after the company announced it was going ahead with its Canyon Mine despite a 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims, passed by the Obama administration in 2012, that applies to the a 1 million-acre area around the park.

The company has clarified the ruling doesn’t affect its plans, as it obtained the rights for it almost two decades ago.

What does affect the company’s plans is the current price of uranium, which is trading at around $30 per pound on the spot market, its lowest in the last five years.

Uranium resources in the so-called Arizona Strip represent about 40% of the US reserves. The yellow element was mined extensively there after World War II for use in the government’s nuclear weapons program.

According to last year’s figures, uranium mining in the belt could create more than 1,000 jobs over a 40-year period, bringing $2 billion revenues in federal and state corporate income taxes, $168 million in state severance taxes and $9.5 million in mining claims payment and fees to local governments.

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