British Uranium Firm Sues U.S. for $132 Million Over Grand Canyon Mining Ban

Contact: Roger Clark, Grand Canyon Trust, (928) 774-7488
Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter, (602) 253-8633

WASHINGTON D.C.— On June 21st, British uranium firm VANE Minerals sued the
United States in Washington’s U.S. Court of Claims over the Department of the
Interior’s January 2012 decision to protect 1 million acres of public lands around Grand
Canyon National Park from new uranium mining. VANE’s suit, which claims that
uranium mining in Grand Canyon’s watershed “would have no adverse impacts,” seeks
up to $132 million from U.S. taxpayers. This is VANE’s second attempt to bring such a
suit against the U.S.

“Leaders of the American Revolution would be horrified that British and foreign uranium
firms might one day threaten our cherished national park,” said Roger Clark, Grand
Canyon program director with Grand Canyon Trust, “and appalled that those companies
are now claiming monetary damages for imaginary profits lost to protect Grand
Canyon.”

VANE’s case threatens both the Grand Canyon mineral withdrawal and future mineral
withdrawals to protect public lands. VANE seeks damages for mining claims it staked in
the 1 million-acre withdrawal area that lack valid existing rights to mine. The withdrawal
prohibits new mining claims and development on existing mining claims that lack valid
existing rights. If the court accepts Vane’s arguments, precedent may be established
that the Interior Department will face “takings” claims for any future withdrawal, even
where, as here, all valid existing mineral rights have been protected. Government
attorneys successfully moved to dismiss VANE’s first case making these claims in May.
“It is absolutely outrageous that a foreign mining corporation is seeking to pick the
pockets of the American taxpayers to the tune of $132 million because we are
protecting Grand Canyon’s watershed from destructive uranium mining,” said Sandy
Bahr, chapter director for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter. “The
mineral withdrawal that prompted this lawsuit is strongly supported by Arizonans and
people throughout the country.”

Background
On January 9, 2012, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar ordered a twenty-year
mineral withdrawal (the maximum allowed administratively) that prohibits new mining
claims and development on existing mining claims that lack valid existing rights. Vane
Minerals has not established valid existing rights for any of its mining claims in the
withdrawal area. The withdrawal was achieved through an unprecedented and formidable coalition of tribal, business, and civic leaders; hunting, fishing, ranching, and
conservation groups; geologists, hydrologists, water resource managers, wildlife
proponents, city, county, state, and federal elected officials; and hundreds of thousands
of individuals who commented favorably on the proposed moratorium. Uranium industry
attempts to overturn the withdrawal in Arizona’s federal district court have thus far
failed; tribes and conservation groups have intervened on the side of the government to
support the protections.

According to VANE Minerals’ website: “Since December 2004, VANE (US) LLC, a
wholly owned subsidiary of VANE, has aggressively acquired a uranium portfolio in the
US. VANE (US) LLC has built up a considerable portfolio of projects, covering both
strata-bound deposits in Utah and the unique high grade breccia pipe projects in
Northern Arizona, where on part of the district VANE has a 50/50 Joint venture
agreement with Uranium One Exploration (USA) (“U1”) in which, in general terms,
VANE does the exploration and U1 will do the mining.”
(http://www.vaneminerals.com/about/ accessed on 06/24/2013)

Uranium One’s website states: “Uranium One Inc. is a Canadian-based company and is
one of the world’s largest publicly traded uranium producers…. With a 51% ownership
stake, Uranium One’s major shareholder is JSC Atomredmetzoloto (ARMZ) which is a
wholly owned subsidiary of Rosatom, the Russian State Corporation for Nuclear
Energy.
(http://www.uranium1.com/index.php/en/ accessed on 06/24/2013)CANYON MINE 1

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About Joe Hill

Just graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Administration and Minor in Political Science. I am currently looking for a job and working as an intern for the Sierra Club here in Flagstaff.

Posted on July 1, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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