(Kingman, AZ 2/21/20) –The Mohave County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 on Tuesday (2/18) to have the county’s Development Services to amend the general plan and enable policies to support mining development and mining in areas to include the Arizona strip.
This decision by the supervisors follows years of disagreements regarding a 2012 decision by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to block uranium mining claims in an area adjacent to the Grand Canyon and Arizona Strip. It was originally a temporary measure and many supporting mining feared it will soon become permanent in an area known for mineral rich deposits. Nearly 8 years ago, the Bureau of Land Management closed the areas in question to allow the United States Geological Survey to study the effects of uranium mining on the Grand Canyon. Mohave County had objected to the closure, even if temporary, because it could easily become permanent, severely harming Mohave County’s economic development prospects.
Since 2012, the United States Geological Survey has not even allocated any funds to the study of the effects of uranium mining on the Grand Canyon. Then, in late 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill introduced by Tucson’s Raul Grijalva to make the mining ban permanent. (It appears very likely it will not pass when it comes up soon for a vote in the U.S. Senate.) Regardless, Mohave County’s supervisors believe mining claims and development have been severely hampered by restrictions that have remained in place despite far superior safety standards and other upgrades in mining operations.
Multiple potential jobs and a stronger, more durable economy have suffered due to the over-reaching regulations. The Uranium rich County has not been able to move forward due to the 2012 original “temporary” order by the BLM.
The overall short-term goal of the vote by the supervisors is to make certain the desires of Mohave County are clearly understood by the BLM in its future discussions and decisions on mining. The long-range goal is to secure rights to mining in the county. One supervisor said, “it will give us a seat at the table” and the BLM will listen to the county when it wants to move ahead or change restrictive plans on mining.