The Santa Fe New Mexican, in its October 24 edition, reported on a study by the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research that found that the state could use money from a nearly $1- billion federal mining settlement to create a new industry around the cleanup of abandoned uranium mines in the Southwest.
According to the newspaper, the UNM report was commissioned by the state legislature in 2019 to study the economic benefits of cleaning up uranium mining waste primarily on Navajo Nation land in New Mexico and Arizona. The report contends that the $1 billion the Environmental Protection Agency was awarded in a settlement with Kerr-McGee Corporation and its successor, Tronox, could provide $177.8 million a year in revenue to New Mexico businesses for 10 years.
Specific jobs created by the new cleanup industry would depend largely on how environmental remediation is conducted and whether mill waste is disposed of on-site or off-site. There are more than 500 abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation.