Utah officials prepare for mining claims in reopened wilderness areas: report

Utah officials prepare for mining claims in reopened wilderness areas: report
© Getty Images

Utah's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is preparing for a possible rush of mining claims in the area opened up by President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election MORE's decision to reduce the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.

Reuter reports that millions of acres of land will soon be open for mining claims governed by an 1872 law describing the process for prospecting and staking claims in the western United States.


“We’re working on getting information and new monument maps ready for people interested in claims,” BLM spokesman Michael Richardson said.

Trump announced in December that he would reduce the Obama-era monument declarations, which he has called a massive federal overreach.

“Families and communities of Utah know and love this land the best, and you know the best how to take care of your land and how to conserve this land,” Trump said last year.

Once the decision goes into effect on Feb. 2, the area will be subject to gold, silver, copper and uranium mining claims. But local miners say the price of uranium, which is currently at $25 a pound, makes the latter unlikely.

“The current price of uranium is not likely to warrant any new claiming,” Utah uranium mining claim owner Kyle Kimmerle told Reuters. “It would take $60-$70 for me.”

Lawmakers for the region, including Republican Rep. John Curtis (Utah), have introduced legislation to block the Bears Ears region from new mining claims as a result of Trump's order, but any claims made before that legislation passes will be honored by law.

”If we’re serious about preventing mining and drilling in Bears Ears, the administration needs to take concrete action now,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) told Reuters.