your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Dynamic Homes
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Native Sun News: NRC weighing uranium mine near Pine Ridge

Filed Under: Environment | National
More on: native sun news, nrc, oglala sioux, south dakota, uranium

The following story was written and reported by Talli Nauman, Native Sun News Health & Environment Editor. All content © Native Sun News.

Public given chance to stall proposed mine expansion near Pine Ridge
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News
Health & Environment Editor

WASHINGTON — The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Nov. 30 announced the opportunity for anyone interested to intervene in Crow Butte Resources Inc.’s application to expand its uranium mining operation to the Marsland site, located between the Pine Ridge Reservation and Crawford, Neb.

In 2008, the Oglala Sioux Tribe intervened to demand hearings on a previous proposal for expansion of the company’s mining, at the nearby North Trend site. The NRC also granted participation in those proceedings to the nonprofit Western Nebraska Resources Council, the nonprofit Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way) and its founder, Debra White Plume, who is Oglala Lakota.

The new opportunity for requesting a hearing or otherwise seeking approval to intervene in the application for the additional expansion was posted in the Federal Register. It gives interested parties until Jan. 29 to request a hearing, petition for leave to intervene or move for permission to file contentions. Instructions for doing so are included in the Federal Register notice. The NRC will determine eligibility.

Crow Butte Resources Inc., a subsidiary of Canadian mining giant Cameco, wants to increase in-situ recovery (ISR) mining, which involves injecting a leach solution into wells drilled into an ore body, allowing the solution to flow through the ore body and extract uranium, then removing the uranium from the solution by ion exchange. Precipitation, drying and packaging into solid yellowcake uranium also takes place on site for shipping to nuclear power plants.

Interveners in the previous application argued, among other things, that “the current mine sites are within the treaty boundaries; that they possess water and mineral rights under the treaties, that infringement of the treaties would constitute injury.”

The NRC replied, “We do note certain treaty-related matters in passing, but these are not determinative on any of these issues.”

The NRC did allow petitioners to argue their allegations about contamination of water resources and potential resulting environmental and health issues, as well as concerns over adequate consultation with tribal leaders regarding a prehistoric Indian camp located in the region of the then-proposed expansion site.

A permit for expansion was granted on Aug. 15, 2011, for operations at the 1,165-acre North Trend site. The permit included the government’s declaration removing the groundwater in the injection area from eligibility for human consumption.

Then, in a February 2012 letter, Cameco asked the NRC to exempt it from a requirement to complete groundwater restoration within two years. “The imposition of such precise, prescriptive timeframes to groundwater restoration in aquifers that are part of natural systems is not practicable,” Cameco Director of Radiation Safety & Licensing Josh Leftwich said in the letter.

The NRC refused to review the exemption request, saying it was incomplete. The agency noted the request lacked a description of how the exemption would not endanger life, property, or common defense and security and how it would be in the public interest.

“Staff notes that despite several years of effort to restore groundwater at the Crow Butte facility, only one well field restoration has been approved by the NRC,” the agency told Cameco in a June 22 letter.

On Aug. 31 and Sep. 1, the Crow Butte site was evacuated due to threatening wildfire east of the mine. During the evacuation, a crew of five employees remained on site for security purposes. Source material on the site was kept under 24-hour surveillance. The wildfires did not enter the licensed area and as a result no releases of radioactive material were detected, Cameco reported to the NRC in September.

Crow Butte Resources Inc. has been mining uranium for Cameco on the southern side of the Pine Ridge Reservation in Nebraska for 29 years.

Cameco is one of the world’s largest uranium producers, accounting for about 16 percent of international production. Its uranium operations span the globe with mining, milling and development assets in Canada, Australia and Central Asia as well as the United States, where the Smith Ranch-Highland operation in Wyoming is another of its assets.

Located between the Crow Butte mine field and the Smith Ranch-Highland field is the proposed Dewey-Burdock uranium mine site, a project of the Canadian holding company Powertech Uranium Resources Corp.

(Contact Talli Nauman at

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Family questions FBI on reservation death (11/25)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud students earn top scholarship (11/25)
Brandon Ecoffey: Making a difference for people on Pine Ridge (11/25)
Yurok Tribe: Mourning the passing of 'visionary' Troy Fletcher (11/25)
Ned Blackhawk: Supreme Court case jeopardizes tribal rights (11/25)
Steve Russell: The real origins of the world's terrorism crisis (11/25)
Ramona Peters: Sharing a Wampanoag story of Thanksgiving (11/25)
Yatibaey Evans: Let's all teach the truth about Native history (11/25)
Martie Simmons: Every Native parent dreads this time of year (11/25)
Eric Metaxas: The 'miracle' of Squanto and first Thanksgiving (11/25)
Presidential Medal of Freedom presented to late Billy Frank Jr (11/25)
Oneida Nation opens first branch location of tribal-owned bank (11/25)
Virginia tribes continue to pay tribute required by 1677 treaty (11/25)
Chukchansi Tribe reaches new agreement for shuttered casino (11/25)
Poarch Band to welcome visitors to $65M expansion at casino (11/25)
Stillaguamish Tribe debuts eatery and microbrewery at casino (11/25)
Connecticut tribes consider proposals for third gaming facilty (11/25)
Mark Pilarski: Why are games different at some tribal casinos? (11/25)
Tribes seek support for Native language instruction programs (11/24)
Rep. Mullin confirms divisions in Indian Country on Carcieri fix (11/24)
President Obama to award Medal of Freedom to Billy Frank Jr. (11/24)
Sault Tribe pushes for passage of Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (11/24)
Lakota Country Times: Charles Trimble recognized for writings (11/24)
Native Sun News Editorial: Some new names in Indian Country (11/24)
Jim Kent: South Dakota lands in the news again for corruption (11/24)
John Yellowbird Steele: Bill tries to hijack recognition process (11/24)
Albert Bender: 'The Green Inferno' hits new low in racist films (11/24)
Peter d'Errico: Anti-Indian wars continue in US Supreme Court (11/24)
Anne Keala Kelly: US government wants to steal Hawaii again (11/24)
Counties ask Supreme Court to hear Ute Tribe boundary case (11/24)
Shinnecock Nation considers entering medical marijuana field (11/24)
USDA policy eases return of traditional food to tribal facilities (11/24)
Sitka Tribe asks FBI to consider racial bias in student's arrest (11/24)
Court sides with Indian inmates over closure of sweat lodge (11/24)
Former employee accused of cheating Grand Traverse Band (11/24)
Tribes with special acts of Congress face hurdles for gaming (11/24)
Enterprise Rancheria addresses concerns about gaming site (11/24)
Mohegan Tribe signs partner for $5B casino proposal in Korea (11/24)
Bart Hinkle: States trying to protect their gaming monopolies (11/24)
Blackfeet Nation wins ruling against development at sacred site (11/23)
Center for Native American Youth hires new executive director (11/23)
Quinault Nation slams approval of genetically modified salmon (11/23)
Native Sun News: Great Plains people key in defeating Keystone (11/23)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.