Uranium & Mining

Paradox valley, Colorado

The agrarian Paradox Valley, home of the proposed Piñon Ridge Mill (Whit Richardson Photography)

As people around the world debate whether nuclear energy is our saving grace or the technology that might eventually destroy the planet, speculation drives the uranium industry to lands in and around the Uravan Mineral Belt, which follows the Dolores River Corridor in southwest Colorado. Our goal is to move an industry with a long sordid history of contamination into remediation and opportunities for renewable energy development.

Current News
Energy Fuels has finally made public the information that we have seen in their financial statements for a few years. They do not have the funds or the intention to build the Piñon Ridge Mill any time soon. In a liquidation of debt-ridden U.S. assets Denison Inc., another Canadian mining company, dumped its U.S. holdings, including the only operational uranium mill in the United State—White Mesa Mill just across the border in Blanding, Utah. The White Mesa Mill is currently processing radioactive waste in order to keep the plant alive. With the acquisition of the Blanding mill, it is unlikely that there will ever be the need for another mill within 60 miles. We hope that Energy Fuels will stop irresponsibly misleading rural communities once dependent on uranium and that local officials and community leaders can transition into a more resilient economy, including remediation projects, clean energy development, agriculture, and recreational and cultural opportunities. (Learn more information about the Piñon Ridge licensing process.)

After successfully challenging the Department of Energy’s Uranium Leasing Program Finding of No Significant Impact, we forced the DOE to start over on a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the leasing program, which covers over 27,000 acres of lands in Mesa, Montrose, San Miguel and Dolores Counties. SMA, along with our conservation partners and hundreds of concerned citizens, submitted comments asking the DOE to stop the leasing program, keep the uranium reserves safely in the ground, remediate lands already contaminated with uranium mining and turn the surface management over to the BLM.

Our current uranium and mining include:

  • Working with state-wide conservation groups to create mining reform legislation to prevent future spills like the Gold King Mine disaster.
  • Collaborating on filling suits to oppose the granting of Temporary Cessation Orders for multiple leaking uranium mines.
  • Keeping tabs on oil and gas lease sales, as well as possibility of fracking.
© Sheep Mountain Alliance