"Navajo Nation Abandoned Uranium Mines Cleanup Gets $600 Million"

"After 50 years, mining companies will pay for cleanup at 94 abandoned uranium mines on Navajo Nation.

A historic, $600 million settlement agreement reached by the Navajo Nation, the United States and two subsidiaries of the mining company Freeport-McMoRan aims to address a legacy of uranium mining that stretches back to 1944. The settlement, announced by the U.S. Department of Justice, calls for Cyprus Amax Minerals Co. and Western Nuclear Inc. to clean up 94 abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation. The United States will contribute about half the cost.

The mines are located in four of the six abandoned uranium mine regions on the Navajo Nation, according to DOJ spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle. The largest concentration of abandoned uranium mines is in the Four Corners area, or Tse Tah, Red Valley and Cove, Ariz., and Monument Valley.

'This remarkable settlement will result in significant environmental restoration on Navajo lands and will help build a healthier future for the Navajo people,' Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden, for the Justice Department’s Natural Resources Division, said in a statement. 'The Justice Department is always ready to work cooperatively with the Navajo Nation and responsible private parties to address the legacy of uranium mining on Navajo lands.'"

Alysa Landry reports for Indian Country Today Media Network February 14, 2017.

Source: Indian Country Today, 02/16/2017