Our domestic uranium mining industry is under attack. The Jan. 8 announcement that the Mt. Taylor Uranium Mine near Grants plans to close is a sad sign of the times.
Uranium is one of America’s greatest assets. This critical mineral fuels the nuclear power plants that provide about 20 percent of our electricity and 55 percent of our clean, carbon-free electricity. Uranium is also vital to our national security, fueling the nuclear Navy’s aircraft carriers and submarines and providing for other defense needs.
The closure of the Mt. Taylor mine is further proof the U.S. uranium mining and nuclear fuel production industries are rapidly disappearing. Mt. Taylor is one of the largest and richest uranium mines in the United States. Now, it may be gone forever.
The New Mexico Mining Association (NMMA) supports President Trump’s goal of putting “America First,” but unless the administration takes action – very soon – to help restore this critical industry, more valuable infrastructure is likely to disappear in 2020 and beyond. As recently as the 1980s, the United States produced nearly 100% of our uranium requirements. In 2019, U.S. uranium miners produced less than 1% of our domestic requirement. To make matters worse, increasing levels of uranium are being imported from unfriendly nations like Russia, China and their allies. These facts should concern all Americans.
President Trump has said he recognizes the threat we face if the uranium mining and nuclear fuel industries disappear, and he has emphasized the need for the United States to produce our own energy and critical minerals. Yet, so far, the Trump administration has not taken the critical action necessary to support our domestic uranium industry.