Chair Grijalva Will Announce Push for Permanent Grand Canyon-Area Mining Moratorium at South Rim Press Conference This Saturday

Tucson, Ariz. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) will announce a legislative push for a permanent moratorium on new mining claims near the Grand Canyon at a press conference this Saturday at Mather Point Amphitheater, located just east of Mather Point at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Grijalva will unveil the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act, which he will formally introduce on Feb. 26, the one-hundred-year anniversary of the park’s establishment.

In 2012, then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a 20-year moratorium on new mining claims over approximately 1 million acres in two units north and south of the Grand Canyon. Grijalva’s new bill makes that withdrawal permanent. As Chair of the Natural Resources Committee, Grijalva will have primary jurisdiction over the bill once it is introduced.

Formally, the bill removes the moratorium area from the jurisdiction of the Mining Law of 1872 and the Mineral Leasing Act, meaning that no new claims could be made for locatable minerals (such as gold, silver, copper, uranium or other precious metals), and no new leases could be issued for leasable minerals (such as oil, gas, coal and phosphate).

While existing claims inside the moratorium area will remain, owners would have to perform what is known as a validity determination in order to keep them, which requires a demonstration that a mining claim contains extractable mineral deposits in a concentration that can be mined profitably. Owners would also have to demonstrate that they intend to conduct mining operations on those claims.

The event will also feature a discussion of a forthcoming Grand Canyon Trust report on uranium mining impacts in the Grand Canyon region.

Event Details

When: Saturday, Feb. 23, at 2:00 p.m. Arizona time

Where:  Mather Point Amphitheater


  • Reps. Grijalva and Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.)
  • Muriel Uqualla-Coochytewa, Chairwoman, Havasupai Tribal Council
  • Jonathan Nez, President, Navajo Nation
  • Clark Tenakhongva, Vice Chairman, Hopi Tribe
  • Coral Evans, Mayor, City of Flagstaff
  • Art Babbott, Chairman, Coconino County Board of Supervisors
  • Ethan Aumack, Executive Director, Grand Canyon Trust

Press Contact

Media Contact: Adam Sarvana

(202) 225-6065 or (202) 578-6626 mobile