Uranium mining in the Havasupai Nation's territory, Arizona, USA

The Havasupai Tribe is currently threatened by the development of uranium mines upstream from the village that the Tribe worries will lead to groundwater contamination and negatively impact tourism in the area.


Entirely dependent upon and intimately connected to their land and its natural resources, the Havasupai Tribe is threatened by uranium mining around the Grand Canyon.

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Basic Data
NameUranium mining in the Havasupai Nation's territory, Arizona, USA
CountryUnited States of America
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Uranium extraction
Specific CommoditiesWater
Project Details and Actors
Project Area (in hectares)134,161 [size of the tribal land]
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population639 (size of the population in the reservation [11])
Start Date12/06/2016
Company Names or State EnterprisesEnergy Fuels (EF) from United States of America - Uranium mining company
Relevant government actorsU.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Havasupai Tribe, U.S. Forest Service
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGrand Canyon Trust, Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Havasupai Nation
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Mine tailing spills, Soil contamination
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (victory for environmental justice)
Under negotiation
Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesThe Tribe requested that a new EIS, a revised Plan of Operations, and a full consultation under Section 106 of NHPA be completed before Energy Fuels received rights to mine.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.This case is ongoing and there are continued efforts to mine in tribal areas despite expressed concerns by tribal governments and environmental NGOs.
Sources and Materials

The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (as Amended)
[click to view]

National Environmental Policy Act
[click to view]

National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106
[click to view]


[2] Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine - "THE HISTORY OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND TOURISM"
[click to view]

[3] Havasupai Tribe Community Profile
[click to view]

[9] Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment - "Legal Framework Governing Water Use" - June 2016
[click to view]


[1] Official Havasupai Tribe Website
[click to view]

[4] Grand Canyon Trust - "Havasupai Tribe"
[click to view]

[5] Arizona Daily Sun - "Havasupai Lawsuit A First for the Tribe" - Dec 14, 2016
[click to view]

[6] Reuters - "Obama bans uranium mining around Grand Canyon" - Jan 9, 2012
[click to view]

[7] Earth Justice - "Havasupai Tribe Conservation Coalition will Defend Grand Canyon from Uranium Industry Appeal" - Nov 6, 2014
[click to view]

[8] Cronkite News - "Havasupai children write letters urging Trump to ban canyon mining" - March 1, 2018
[click to view]

[10] Earther - "The Trump Administration Wants to Mine the Grand Canyon Because Why Not" - Nov 7 2017
[click to view]

[11] Intertribal Council of Arizona website
[click to view]

Other Documents

Canyon Mine
[click to view]

Havasupai area map
[click to view]

Havasupai creek
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorBernadette Grafton ([email protected]) and Paul Mohai ([email protected]), University of Michigan School of Environment and Sustainability (formerly School of Natural Resources and the Environment)
Last update08/07/2019