Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

May 9, 2023

Legacy of Death -- New Uranium Mines Target Navajos at Church Rock and Australian Aboriginals

Warning sign at United Nuclear spill site at Church Rock, N.M.

Canadian company now endangering Dine' in New Mexico, and Aboriginals in Australia, with new uranium mining

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
April 3, 2023
French translation by Christine Pratt:

Update: Dine' in Church Rock were not told about the new uranium mining
Read the update at NM Political Report:

CHURCH ROCK, New Mexico -- A Canadian company drilled test sites for new uranium mines at Church Rock in December. It is the site of the largest radioactive spill in the United States, which continues to poison the region with radioactivity in the Rio Puerco wash flowing west.

NuFuels, a subsidiary of Laramide Resources in Toronto, said it drilled seven drill holes for the new planned in-situ uranium mines. The sites border the Navajo Nation communities of Church Rock and Crownpoint in New Mexico, about ten miles northeast of Gallup, N.M. NuFuels began the drilling in December and now has an economic assessment of the proposed uranium mines underway, Laramide said.

"This project is permitted for a 3 million lb. yellowcake processing plant," reports Mining online about the Crownpoint site. It says Laramide plans to mine for uranium oxide at the Church Rock site.

In a shocking announcement, Interior Sec. Deb Haaland announced in Farmington, N.M., that the atomic bomb industry would lead the transition to the new green economy in the Four Corner region. The Los Alamos National Laboratory, responsible for testing and maintaining the nuclear stockpile in northern New Mexico, will lead the U.S. Rapid Response, a so-called energy transition in the Four Corners.

Immediately after the announcement, the Navajo Nation government announced a new heavy freight rail system from the Church Rock area to the Shiprock, N.M., area. The railway would pass through Red Valley and Cove region, where Dine' were sent to their deaths mining uranium without protective clothing during the Cold War. In the 1990s, every Dine' family in the region had family members with cancer.

The Dine' cancer deaths continued for decades of the miners and their families who ate the food covered with the radioactive dust, ate the contaminated livestock, hand washed the radioactive dust from the miners clothes, and built their homes from radioactive rocks. The United States knew of the dangers of radioactivity, but never told Dine' miners.

Today, the radioactive tailings from uranium mining remain strewn across the Navajo Nation. The United States repeatedly deceives the public with promises of clean-up.

In Toronto, Laramide announced it is targeting both the Navajo region, and the lands of Australian Aboriginals for new uranium mines.

Marc Henderson, President of Laramide Resources said the drilling at Church Rock and Crownpoint began in December.

"Throughout the prolonged downturn of the uranium market, we maintained and enhanced our asset base, as well as our core technical capability and that strategy, has paid off, allowing us to now re-start our development plans at several of the company’s US Assets," Henderson said.

Laramide's new uranium mining also targets Aboriginals in Australia. Laramide completed two separate drilling programs at the Westmoreland Project in Queensland, Australia, and both are awaiting assay results, he said.

"We also recently completed an ILUA (Indigenous land use agreement) and ancillary agreement with the Gangalidda and Garawa Native Title Aboriginal Corporation for the Westmoreland Uranium Project."

Laramide said it contracted SLR International Corporation in Denver, Colorado to complete a preliminary economic assessment on Laramide's Crownpoint/Churchrock Uranium Project in New Mexico.

The Church Rock uranium mill spill occurred on July 16, 1979, when United Nuclear Corporation's tailings disposal pond at its uranium mill in Church Rock breached its dam. The accident remains the largest release of radioactive material in U.S. history, having released more radioactivity than the Three Mile Island accident four months earlier.

Today, the radioactive waste from the Church Rock uranium spill continues to flow down the Rio Puerco wash toward Flagstaff, Arizona.

Read more:

Laramide initiates uranium drill project in New Mexico

Church Rock uranium spill

Atomic bomb industry to lead Four Corners green energy transition

Navajo freight rail scam follows announcement of atomic bomb industry leading green energy transition in Four Corners

Copyright Brenda Norrell, Censored News. May not be used without written permission.

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