The Navajo Nation geographical area extends over 26,000 square miles, occupying all of northeastern Arizona, the southeastern portion of Utah, and northwestern New Mexico. The environmental conditions vary from the dry lowlands of Cameron, Arizona to the mountainous, rough, and wet lands of the Chuska Mountain range. Mining legacy dates back to the late 1800’s for coal and the early 1900’s for minerals like uranium, vanadium, copper, and sand & gravel.
Navajo AML (NAML) was established in 1988 with the approval of the Navajo Reclamation Plan and Code by the Secretary of the Interior and The Navajo Nation. The purpose of the Program is to fulfill the requirements of Public Law 95-87, “Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) of 1977, which addresses abandon mine lands reclamation. With the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), NAML has the authority to address abandon mine land problems that include coal and non-coal (uranium, copper etc.) mines.
In 1989, Navajo AML conducted an on-the-ground survey of abandon mine lands and inventoried 273 coal, 33 copper and over 1000 abandon uranium mines. Since then, NAML has successfully reclaimed all the inventoried coal sites and received coal certification in 1994. In addition, other non-coal sites were addressed, a total of 913 uranium and 33 copper mines were reclaimed. The abandon mines include both surface mines such as open pit, rimstrips, trenches, and underground mines with features like portals/adits, incline and vertical shafts. In the reclamation of uranium sites, the Health Physics personnel monitors radiation exposure for safety and environmental controls during the reclamation activities.
Navajo AML Reclamation continues to perform limited work on coal related issues that are reported by the public.
What is an AML Problem?
These are abandoned mines(coal and non-coal) and lands that present an immediate danger to the public health, safety, and general welfare. Abandoned mine land problems include: landslides, open portals and shafts, subsidence, and waste bank or underground mine fires near homes, roadways, and populated areas. Because health, safety, and property is threatened a rapid response is critical.
Where should the AML problem be reported?
Abandoned Mine Land problems can be reported to Navajo AML Reclamation Department:
Window Rock, AZ
Toll Free at 1-866-458-4390
Tuba City AML, Tuba City, AZ
Toll Free at 1-800-220-7834
Shiprock AML, Shiprock, NM
Toll Free at 1-800-215-6226
What Information needs to be reported?
When reporting an Abandoned Mine Land problems you should include your name and telephone number, a brief description of the problem, location of the site, and the name and telephone number of any other person(s) who is knowledgeable about the problem.
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