The American Clean Energy Resources Trust (ACERT) took local officials on a tour of Denison’s Arizona-1 uranium mine on Monday, April 18. Commissioners from Kane, Garfield, San Juan, Washington and Mohave Counties were in attendance, along with elected officials from Fredonia and Kane County. Arizona State Senator Paul Gosar toured as well.

ACERT Director Pam Hill organized the informational tour of Denison’s active Arizona-1 mine, as well as a short visit to a reclaimed former mine site. Forty people took the bumpy tour to the site approximately 35 miles southwest of Fredonia.

Harold Roberts, Executive Vice President of Denison Mines, explained the active mining operation, “We’re proud of what we do here.”

Roberts said the mine shaft is nearly 1300 foot deep with two stations. Ore production is between six and seven truckloads a day, and is taken to the White Mesa Mill in Blanding where it is processed. The operation employs 50 between the staff on site and in Fredonia. Two shifts are run daily, four days a week. “This operation is critical (economically) to people here, as well as those in Blanding,” said Roberts.

The dry mine site has approximately 20 acres of total surface disturbance, which must be reclaimed after the mining operation is completed. Roberts said the Arizona-1 mine will have a five to seven year lifespan, from start to finish. “It’s a finite ore body. We’re close to being done here, probably by early next year. Then it will be restored.”

The Pine Nut mine, which was developed in the 1980’s, will be Denison’s next active claim to be mined. Roberts said start-up on the mine is still some time off, due to tasks involved in readying the site. Twenty five thousand tons were pulled out when it was active before, with an expected 85,000 tons remaining to be mined. “This area has significant uranium resources,” added Roberts.

The tour concluded with a visit to what was formerly the Hermit Mine site. Reclamation was complete, with the site being indistinguishable from surrounding prairie land.