The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and stretches across miles of the Arizona landscape. The land became protected in 1919 under the National Parks Act, which allows the U.S. government to keep the land solely for natural preservation.

Grand Canyon Welcome Sign
Credit: Canva

A 19th century law, however, might allow for mining operations to move in on national land.

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Arizona's Law

The Mining Law of 1872 was set in place in the late 19th century to allow mining organizations to lay sole claim over the materials they find on national land without paying royalties to the U.S. Government.

A Mining Station
Credit: Canva

This is obviously an old law, one that existed long before the creation of the National Parks Service. No matter how old it is though, it's still active, which means that, legally, mining companies can lay stake to anything they find on national land, and that includes the Grand Canyon.

Let's Get Nuclear

While this law has been active for over a century now, it's taken up until now for someone to really challenge it, and Energy Fuels Inc. is the company to do it.

Mining Equipment
Credit: Canva

Starting in January of 2024, this company began a mining operation in the brand new National Monument just 10 miles outside of the Grand Canyon. This area is home to large amounts of Uranium, a highly valuable resource, and Energy Fuels Inc. wants it for themselves.

This land is still protected for mining through the Mining Law of 1872, despite the Havasupai tribe calling that space home.

Mining Tunnel
Credit: Canva

This isn't stopping Energy Fuels Inc., and their project is moving full steam ahead.

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Gallery Credit: Val Davidson/TSM

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