Mine at Grand Canyon deals with excess water, hauling

March 17, 2017
Energy Fuels' uranium mine deals with excess water.  
A uranium mine near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is dealing with unexpectedly high levels of water. Photo: Grand Canyon Trust.

ARIZONA, MARCH 17, 2017 -- A uranium mine near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is dealing with unexpectedly high levels of water, forcing the mine owner to examine water hauling options to keep holding ponds from overflowing.

Energy Fuels, the mine's owner, told a local newspaper that "large amounts of winter snow and rain, coupled with low seasonal evaporation rates and high initial inflows from a perched aquifer pierced by the mine shaft have caused water levels in the ponds to rise."

Production has not started at the mine's 17-acre site, although it is expected to begin ore operations as early as June.

A company spokesperson told the Arizona Daily Sun that uranium concentrations in the pond water measure about 0.09 parts per million, which is three times the federal drinking water standard of 0.03 parts per million.

Environmental groups were concerned that some of the pond water being sprayed into the air by the evaporation devices in use is blowing into the nearby national forest, but the Forest Service and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality said they have implemented restrictions to ensure that this does not happen.

The excess water is being taken to Energy Fuels' White Mesa Mill in Blanding, Utah.

Read more here.

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