The Energy Net

Utah Uranim Maps
IEER: Uranium: Its (historic) Uses and Hazards
  • First discovered in the 18th century, uranium is an element found everywhere on Earth, but mainly in trace quantities. In 1938, German physicists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann showed that uranium could be split into parts to yield energy. Uranium is the principal fuel for nuclear reactors and the main raw material for nuclear weapons. Read More
Famous Moments in FoE History: Exposing the Uranium Cartel in 1976
  • Uranium has shot up in price from around US$14 per pound in the mid-1990s to the current, meteoric price of US$120 per pound, purportedly on the coat-tails of global concerns about global warming. This inflation of the price of uranium is not a new phenomenon. A huge jump occurred in the mid-1970s, thanks to a cartel known as the Uranium Club. The cartel was exposed by Friends of the Earth (FoE). It was disbanded and out of court settlements resulted in the payment of about $800 million in penalties. Read More!
  • Detail story on the uranium cartel of the mid 1970s.

Utah Uranium History
  • With the end of World War II, the Atomic Energy Commission replaced the Manhattan Project and launched the first federally-sponsored mineral rush in history. The AEC constructed roads into the back country, promised $10,000 bonuses for new lodes of high-grade ore, guaranteed minimum prices and paid up to $50 per ton on 0.3 percent ore, constructed mills, helped with haulage expenses and posted geologic data on promising areas tracked by federal geologists using airborne scinillometers and other sophisticated radiation detection instruments. Read More

U.S. Aid to Uranium Mining Meets Political Resistance: NYTimes
  • Largely hidden from press and public attention by its complexity, a plan to revitalize the depressed United States uranium-mining industry with huge injections of public money has quietly won approval in the Senate and awaits action in the House.
    Largely hidden from press and public attention by its complexity, a plan to revitalize the depressed United States uranium-mining industry with huge injections of public money has quietly won approval in the Senate and awaits action in the House. Read More


1872 Mining Act
  • The 1872 Mining Act was designed to promote westward expansion. It succeeded in its goal and since then the West has been populated. While fair in its day, 125 years later many feel that the law is in need of some serious changes. The price of land in 1872 was much less than it is now. Environmental concerns weren’t an issue. People saw the West as a great open area with plenty of land for everyone. Today things are much different, and policies that effect land usage must reflect those things that have changed. But before changing the law there are many issues that must be understood. Read more

The General Mining Act of 1872 has left a legacy of riches and ruin
  • Gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals for free. Land for $5 an acre or less.
    That's the deal mining companies get from the U.S. government when miners turn their explosives and earthmovers toward public land in the West.
    It's pretty much the same deal miners have had for 129 years, ever since Congress approved the General Mining Law in 1872.
    Environmental Protection Agency officials estimate that 40 percent of Western watersheds are affected by mining pollution. Read More


Gallup Indepenant: 1872 Mining Law reform a bottomless pitUranium
  • WINDOW ROCK — The Mining Law of 1872, signed into existence 135 years ago by President Ulysses Grant, is either “the most outdated natural resource law in the nation” and sadly in need of overhaul, or working just fine and any attempt at reform would be “unnecessary, duplicative and unreasonable.”
    The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chaired by U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., heard testimony recently from a number of experts on the issue as well as representatives of various public interest groups.
    Read More


The Mining Law of 1872:
Digging a Little Deeper
  • "Of all those expensive and uncertain projects
    which bring bankruptcy upon the
    greater part of the people that engage in them,
    there is none perhaps more perfectly ruinous
    than the search after new silver and gold mines."
    --Adam Smith
    The Wealth of Nations
    Read More


Statement of Henri Bisson Deputy Director, Bureau of Land Management U.S. Department of the Interior
  • Oversight Hearing: Mining Law Reform
    For over 135 years, the 1872 Mining Law has served to assure a reliable and affordable domestic supply of minerals—gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, and uranium—critical to our economy and national security. The 1872 Mining Law also promoted the settlement of the western United States by providing an opportunity for any citizen of the United States to explore the available public domain lands for valuable mineral deposits, stake a claim, and, if the mineral deposit could be mined, removed, and marketed at a profit, patent the claim. Patenting results in the claimant acquiring ownership not only of the mineral resources, but also of the lands containing these mineral deposits at the statutory price of $2.50 or $5.00 per acre. A moratorium has been in place since 1994 on BLM’s processing of new patent applications.
    Between 2000 and 2007, the BLM has inventoried 5,500 sites and remediated physical safety hazards at more than 3,000 sites. The BLM has also restored water quality at over 280 sites through 2003 and on more than 3,000 acres between 2004 and 2007.
    Read More


  • Tribal Councils, Tribal members, Native organizations and others, call your Congressman now to support HR 2262 – The Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007.

    Earlier this year, Congressman Rahall of West Virginia again introduced legislation to reform the 1872 Mining Law. This new effort represents a unique opportunity for this nation to overhaul this antiquitated law from the 19th century that is completely inadequate for today’s industrial mining technology and scale. The House Sub-Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold the first hearing specific to HR 2262 on July 26. We will need more co-sponsors for the bill by the 26th of July as well as in the upcoming months.

    Read More
The Senator's Golden Western Strategy: Obama and the Mining Cartel
  • A few days ago, Fairbanks Mayor Jim Whitaker co-authored an Anchorage Daily News piece in favor of the mining industry’s $6 million to $8 million war to put down ballot measure Proposition 4. Then he was invited to speak at the Democratic National convention. It is no coincidence that Obama invited Whitaker to the Democratic National Convention in Denver next week.
    More than Whitaker’s Republican credential is at play. Obama has made friendship with Big Mining part of his Western state strategy. There's gold in them there hills! Political gold for Obama!
    Read More


The top 10 mining firms in 2006
  • Ranked according to their controlled share of the total value of global non-fuel minerals production, in percent. The list was compiled by industry analysts Raw Materials Group.
    Company Country Share 2006
    CVRD VALE.SA (RIO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) Brazil 5.4
    BHP Billiton (BLT.L: Quote, Profile, Research) (BHP.AX: Quote, Profile, Research) Australia 4.8
    Anglo American (AAL.L: Quote, Profile, Research) Britain 4.3
    Rio Tinto (RIO.L: Quote, Profile, Research) (RIO.AX: Quote, Profile, Research) Britain 4.3
    FreeportMcMoran (FCX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) United States 3.3
    Codelco Chile 3.2
    Xstrata (XTA.L: Quote, Profile, Research) Switzerland 3.0
    Norilsk Nickel (GMKN.MM: Quote, Profile, Research) Russia 2.7
    Barrick (ABX.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) United States 1.8
    Grupo Mexico GBMEXICO.MX Mexico 1.6
    Total 34.5
    Source: Raw Materials Group


Audit hits hard at U.S. federal Abandoned Mine Lands programs safety, environmental hazards
  • The Department of Interior Inspector General has released a tough abandoned mine lands audit report painting a bleak picture of environmental and safety hazards still festering at sites in California, Nevada and Arizona.
    In a recently issued report, the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of the Interior said, "We are gravely concerned that the Department of Interior has put the public's health and safety at risk by not addressing hazards posed by abandoned mines on federal laws."
    Read More


Nuclear Fact

The Breathing Earth
World Clock
Video Library

Slides Play


A History of Scandals Under Heavy construction (sept 22th 2008)

Its pretty hard to outdo some of the excellent online resources on the history of uranium mining. Please check out the articles on the left if you want a closer look.

This introduction is an attempt to place this issue in an appropriate perspective. The size of the uranium mining industry is collosal. But, because the impacts of the industry are almost completely hidden from the public, most of us don't understand the scale of the impacts this first step of the nuclear fuel-cycle has.

The satellite image above left, is of the Rossing Uranium mine in Namibia. The mining and milling facility covers 23 square Kilo meters. This is currently the biggest uranium mine in the world. The middle image is of the actual Mining pit which is nearly a mile long. Then on the right image is of one of the large dump trucks that are being used to haul the uranium from mines like Rossing. (You can click on the images to get a closer look)

Uranium Mines

The above uranium digging shovel is from a major Cameco mining operation in Canada. The black dots on the left, of which there are at least 15,000 represent uranium mines in the western U.S. Thousands of these mines have been abandoned by the companies that once mined these sites and have yet to be cleaned up. Cleanup estimates range as high as $30 billion.

No, not every mine in the U.S. is as large. There are less than 10 active uranium mines in the U.S. as of September 2008. In a study of some 3,500 uranium mines, five mines produced over 1 million tons of uranium ore, while nearly a thousand more operations produced between 1,000 or more tons of uranium ore. In 2005, Rossing mined 12 million tons of raw ore, producing a total of 3,700 tons or uranium ore. Rossing (Rio Tinto is primary company involved) produces 8% of the world's uranium ore, while Canadian mines, mostly owned by Cameco, a large French company produces nearly a quarter of the world's total uranium ore. Rossing also used 225,000 tons of acid and over 3 million cubic meters of water to produce the finished uranium yellowcake. Rossing also has tailing pond that is over 1,500 acres in size.

Below is a list of metals that can be expected to be found during mining operations, that will be released into the environment.

The federal government estimates that there are nearly 44 billion cubic yards of uranium tailings left over as part of this country's uranium mining operations. Attempts to stabilize these tailing piles (both dry and wet) have not been sucessful. It will cost over $1 billion to move 16 million tons of uranium tailings that are adjacent to the Colorado River, the water source for millions of westerners, at Moab Utah. Removal of the tailings started in May 2009 but won't be complete until 2025 according to the DOE.

Historically, uranium ore was hard rock mined at locations, located mostly in the southwest or in the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S. Due to cheaper better quality uranium yellowcake from other parts of the world, the U.S. industry collapsed in the late 1980's. Leaving behind thousands of abandoned uranium mines and mills. Cleanup of the thousands of uranium mines and milling operations was started in 1978. With some sites like the scandalous Grand Junction Colorado fiaso where tailings were used to build streets, schools and the foundations of businesses and homes have been completed. But this is not the case for the Navaho tribal lands. Nixon tried to designate the area as a National Sacrafice Area in the 1970's. The government's actions speak volumes as it took the Waxman hearings in 2007 to finally awaken the EPA and DOE from sleep.

National Sacrafice Area
Four Corners Area








Ralph Nader on the 1872 Mining Act

This nearly 130-year-old relic of efforts to settle the West allows mining companies to claim federal lands for $5 an acre or less and then take gold, silver, lead or other hard-rock minerals with no royalty payments to the public treasury. Thanks to the anachronistic 1872 Mining Act, mining companies-including foreign companies-extract billions of dollars worth of minerals a year from federal lands, royalty free.

Legislative efforts to repeal or reform the mining giveaway regularly fail, blocked by senators from western states. These senators are not standing up for their states' best economic interests; the giveaway mines create few jobs and massive environmental problems with high economic costs in foregone tourist and recreational revenues and uses. The senators are standing up for the mine companies, which pour millions in campaign contributions into the Congress.

From 1987 to 1994, the mining companies gave $17 million in campaign contributions to congressional candidates-a small price to pay to preserve their right to extract $26 billion worth of minerals, royalty free, during the same period. More recently, in the 1997-1998 election cycle, the industry-led by the National Mining Association, Cyprus Amax Minerals, Drummond, Phelps Dodge and Peabody Coal rained more than $2 million in contributions on congressional candidates.

Those campaign donations are concentrated on a relatively small number of key members who go to bat for the industry-including Senators Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, and Representatives J.D. Hayworth, R-Arizona, and Don Young, D-Alaska. Because of the way the Congress, especially the Senate, functions, it is much easier to block changes in the status quo than to enact changes. The industry's focused contributions ensures it has enough heavyweights and devotees on call in the Congress to block the perennial efforts to reform the 1872 Mining Act.

The mining industry, along with other resource extractive industries, has helped create and fund a front group, People for the West!, that claims to represent the interests of western state citizens but somehow always manages to lobby for corporate positions-such as maintenance of the Mining Act.

Indigenous Uranium Forum

The genesis of the Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum began in July and August of 1987 when the Rural Tribal Enterprise Program of the University of New Mexico Gallup Campus held a series of conferences on the environmental and health impacts of uranium development in the Grants Mineral Belt. The coordinator of the conference series was Anna Rondon (Navajo) and the presenters included Diana Ortiz (Acoma Pueblo) and Esther Yazzie (Navajo) of the Tonantzin Land Institute; Chris Shuey, Paul Robinson, and Ray Morgan (Navajo) of the Southwest Research and Information Center; and Navajo-Ute researcher and writer John Redhouse.

In September and October of the same year, Anna, Esther, Ray, and John took it on the road as they and other red delegates from throughout the indigenous world attended and participated in the First Global Radiation Victims Conference and the First Indigenous Uranium Forum in New York City, New York. At the Forum, John wrote a concept paper entitled "Indigenous Uranium Forum Network: A Structure for Continuing Resistance" that proposed to institutionalize the Indigenous Uranium Forum. The concept paper was written at the request of Indigenous Uranium Forum coordinator Tom LaBlanc from the mighty Dakota Sioux Nation.

In November, 1987, Tom, Anna, and John met in Albuquerque and agreed to regionalize the Indigenous Uranium Forum so that IUF regional affiliates could take the lead in organizing regional actions such as the Second Indigenous Uranium Forum which was proposed by Tonantzin Land Institute board president Esther Yazzie to be held at uranium-threatened Red Butte on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. As a result of the meeting and agreement, the Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum was born.

In January, 1988, Tom, Anna, and John (also of the Tonantzin Land Institute) met with Tonantzin Land Institute co-directors David Lujan and Diana Ortiz and jointly agreed to meet with the Havasupai Tribe based on the proposal made at the First Indigenous Uranium Forum.

In February of the same year, Tom, Ricardo Tapia (Yaqui) of the Indigenous Uranium Forum, Anna, Esther, Father Luis Pena of Instituto Tonantzin, and John met with Havasupai tribal vice president Rex Tilousi and tribal councilmen Don Watahomige. and Roland Manajaka. on the proposal to hold the Second Indigenous Uranium Forum at Red Butte. Cal Seciwa. (Zuni Pueblo) facilitated the meeting which was also attended by former Navajo tribal chairman Peterson Zah and tribal press officer Duane Beyal as well as Hopi Epicenter for International Outreach co-directors Marilyn Harris and Orlan Tewa.

In May, 1988, the Havasupai Tribal Council passed a resolution approving the proposal. The Havasupai Tribe would host and co-sponsor the Second Indigenous Uranium Forum at Red Butte. Other co-sponsors included the Tonantzin Land Institute and the Indigenous Uranium Forum.

In September of that same year, the Second Indigenous Uranium Forum was held at Red Butte. The gathering was also called the First Grandmother Canyon Gathering and three more gatherings were held by the Havasupai Tribe from 1989 to 1991.

In 1989, Tonanzin Land Institute consultant Anna Rondon and volunteer Keith Curley (Navajo) organized the Third Indigenous Uranium Forum at Mount Taylor. The gathering was part of the Time for Healing Pilgrimage which began at Red Butte and ended at the Petroglyphs near Albuquerque.

In 1990, Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum coordinator Anna Rondon coordinated the Fourth Indigenous Uranium Forum at Cove on the Navajo Reservation. The Cove Chapter hosted the gathering which was also co-sponsored by the Navajo Uranium Radiation Victims Committee.

In 1993 and 1997, the fifth and sixth Indigenous Uranium Forums were held at Paquate at Laguna Pueblo and in Church Rock and Crownpoint in the Eastern Navajo Agency of the Navajo Nation. The village of Paquate hosted the fifth IUF which was also co-sponsored by the Laguna-Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment. The Church Rock and Crownpoint chapters hosted the sixth IUF.

1999 and 2000 Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum co-produced a video with Philippa Winkler, Desert Concerns “Radioactive Mines to Radioactive Weapons”. This video was shown at the United Nations as an educational piece to advocate banning the use of depleted uranium. Subsequently, the ban was successfully endorsed.

The Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum has existed for 22 years.

There are four unpaid staff and volunteers: Anna, John, Louise Benally Norman Brown, Jirhon Geardon, (Indigenous Environmental Network) (Navajo), and Supai Waters (Havasupai) Manual Pino, Acoma,

Anna and Manual Pino will focus on fundraising efforts. Others?

The structure and function of the Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum has always been indigenous as in American Indian or Native American. For example, our coordinator is Navajo. Our adviser and newsletter editor is Navaho and Ute (which makes him a Nava-Ute or a Uta-Ho). Our planning committee is also tribal and intertribal. At all our forums, we speak and do for ourselves.

The headquarters of the Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum is located
in Gallup, New Mexico.


Our mantra has always been “to leave uranium in the ground and honor the earth”. As part of honoring the earth, we promote the wise and practical uses of renewable energy such as solar, wind, and tidal and the pursuit of soft energy paths and applications based on traditional ecological knowledge and practices.

In addition to these appropriate technologies, we support conservation and a paradigm shift toward energy sovereignty. Weatherization and energy efficiency are effective strategies for building resilience in indigenous communities which is consistent with our mantra.

Food sovereignty as it appertains to the growing and harvesting of traditional foods such as mutton and chile is another crucial element of sustainable development essential to the maintenance of healthy and vibrant tribal communities on a regional if not bioregional scale. Traditional food economies must emerge or re-emerge in the wake of the uranium and nuclear holocaust past and present if we are
to survive these danger times as resilient indigenous communities.


We work with the Navajo Nation, All Indian Pueblo Council, Acoma Pueblo, Laguna Pueblo, Zuni Pueblo, Hopi Tribe, Havasupai Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, and the Kaibab Paiute Tribe. We also work with the Navajo Uranium Radiation Victims Committee, Eastern Navajo Dine Against Uranium Mining, Laguna-Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment, Hualapais for a Better Tomorrow, Paiute Earthkeepers, Seventh Generation Fund, and the Indigenous Environmental Network.

We provide a forum for those who until then had no voice. At the forums, we do not speak FOR the people. We speak WITH the people. And we stand with them against the advancing uranium cavalry.

We work with the World Uranium Hearing Society and the Nuclear Free Future organization.

We plan to co-sponsor the Seventh Indigenous Uranium Forum at Acoma
Hotel and Casino at Acoma Pueblo on September 30 to October 3, 2009.

Mount Taylor is one of the four sacred mountains of the Navajo Nation and is also sacred to the Laguna, Acoma, and Zuni pueblos and the Hopi Tribe. Yet it has also been the site of significant uranium exploration and development and now there are major plans for large-scale mining and milling of uranium on the endangered sacred mountain.

Uranium drilling, extraction, processing, and waste disposal are not only dangerous to the public health and environment but in the case of Mt. Taylor, constitute violent forms of desecration and sacrilege visited on our sacred turquoise mountain.

The Forum proposes to focus much-needed public attention on the Rape of Mount Taylor and to serve as a vehicle to launch a regional intertribal campaign to end this madness in the Grants Mineral Belt and elsewhere in Indian Country, from Grand Canyon to White Mesa, where deadly and runaway uranium technology threatens the lives and future of our people.

The Indigenous Uranium Forum will be the seventh in a continuing series which began in Gallup in July and August, 1987 as preparatory conferences to the First Indigenous Uranium Forum and the First Global Radiation Victims Conference held in New York City in September and October of 1987. The Gallup preparatory conference series was organized by Anna Rondon of the University of New Mexico Gallup Campus Rural Tribal Enterprise Program and was appropriately named "Uranium Mining in Your Backyard."

After the First Indigenous Uranium Forum, Anna organized the Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum which has held gatherings at Red Butte, AZ, Mt. Taylor, Cove, Paquate, Church Rock, and Crownpoint, NM from 1988 to 1997.

The Forum has provided a voice for Navajo, Pueblo, Havasupai, and other indigenous radiation victims and empowered them to organize and unite against uranium and nuclear threats in their backyards and throughout the Southwest region of Turtle Island.

Uranium-threatened Mount Taylor was also the site of the First Mt. Taylor Gathering in 1979, The Third Indigenous Uranium Forum in 1989, and the Tenth Protecting Mother Earth Conference in 1999. Every ten years since 1979, there has been a gathering at Mount Taylor by indigenous people to honor the earth and strategize on the work to keep uranium in the ground. With your help, we will continue this sacred tradition in 2009.


For us, the absence of failure coupled with the achievement of most if not all of our programmatic goals and timetables are critical benchmarks for measurable success.

Issuing a Declaration on the Rape of Mount Taylor and developing a program of action to implement its mandate based on resilience building as a valid and continuing form of resistance, decolonization, and liberation. This document will be given to the President Obama administration and to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Success will be measured by the lasting effectiveness of our work at the local, regional, national, and international levels from Mount Taylor to the Grandmother Canyon to the Colorado Plateau to the Black Hills and to the Four Directions of Turtle Island, Aba Yala (the Red Quarter of Mother Earth), and all throughout the Indigenous World.

The host group and co-sponsors will jointly conduct the evaluation of the forum in the context of the ongoing forum series.

The results of the evaluation will be used in the planning of future forums and actions.