Video Contest Introduction
Introduction to the MASE Uranium Video Contest
There are so many stories of the impacts of uranium mining on Grants, Laguna Acoma, Navajo and the surrounding area. We invite you to participate in this Video Contest as an opportunity to learn more about uranium mining, your family and your community.
Here is some background about the Grants Mineral Belt to get you started.
- The Homestake Superfund Site is located just north of Milan, NM. There are 22 million tons of radioactive waste stored in an unlined waste pile that is 90 feet high and 200 acres in size leaking contaminants directly into groundwater. The site is owned by Barrick Gold, a multi-billion company, which has employed a tailings flushing remediation program for the past 30 years, with poor results.
- Residents living around the site experience greater health problems than those living in other areas. Health problems include various cancers, asthma, severe migraines, gallbladder diseases, and thyroid diseases. Uncovered tailings release radon at levels 2 to 3 times higher than acceptable cancer risk.
- Property values in the area have fallen, leaving family’s investments in land and housing worthless. Communities have lost rights to their own wells and water supply and must now pay for water.
- The Jackpile-Paguate Mine Superfund Site is located on the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico. Anaconda Copper Company began mining in 1953 and operations ceased in 1982 under ARCO.
- 400 million tons of earth removed from open pits and about 25 million tons of ore. Over 7,800 acres were leased to Anaconda and 2,658 acres disturbed by mining. At its peak of production, the mine was operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- In 2012 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the site for listing on the National Priority List for cleanup. The site was listed on December 12, 2013 and is currently undergoing sampling and proposals for final cleanup are being examined.
- During the uranium boom from the 1940s -1980s, the Grants Mineral Belt produced more uranium that any other district in the world and produced more than half of all the uranium used by the United States for its nuclear weapons program. This extensive mining left a devastating legacy of contaminated air, land, and water, and thousands of sick workers and community members.
- The EPA estimates that there are 10,400 abandoned uranium mine features in 15 western states. According to the New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division, there are 259 abandoned uranium mines in New Mexico and more than half of these sites have no record of cleanup.
- On the Navajo Nation there are more than 1100 mines and five abandoned uranium waste sites. There are 523 documented abandoned uranium mines.
- Navajo Nation has received settlements totally more than $1 billion to begin cleanup across the Nation.