The US government has banned new mining claims close to Yellowstone National Park as the Obama administration steps up efforts to keep the extractive industry out of environmentally sensitive areas before President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January.
New mining claims will now be prohibited on about 30,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land near the park’s northern entrance. The exclusion will be in place for two years while the Departments of Interior and Agriculture evaluate whether to withdraw the land from new mining claims for another 20 years, the US Department of the Interior said in a statement.
“There are good places to mine for gold, but the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park is not one of them,” Secretary Sally Jewell said in the release.
The move comes after two applications for gold and copper projects near Yellowstone recently sparked some heated discussion, drawing hostility from local business owners, environmentalists and Montana elected officials.
One of them is Canada’s Lucky Minerals (CVE:LJ), which wants to explore for copper, gold and silver on the western flank of the Absaroka Mountains. The other one is an application by Spokane, Washington-based Crevice Mining Group, which wants to explore for gold near Jardine, just north of the Yellowstone National Park border.
The temporary ban on new mining claims will not directly affect those two applications.