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AQD | Pinyon Plain Mine | Permit of Interest

Water Quality Division

Permit of Interest | Pinyon Plain Mine

Revised on: Sept. 5, 2023 -  1:26 p.m.

This permit of interest online resource provides interested parties with easy access to information about the Pinyon Plain Mine, owned by Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. (EFRI), formerly known as Canyon Mine.


Pinyon Plain Mine is a uranium mine facility located in north central Arizona, about 6 miles southeast of the town of Tusayan in the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest and currently owned by EFRI, approximately 9 to 15 miles south of the Grand Canyon in Coconino County. Uranium ore production has never occurred at the mine.

Pinyon Plain Mine operates in accordance with a United States Forest Service (USFS) Record of Decision (ROD) and detailed Plan of Operations approved by USFS and prepared after USFS completed its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act. USFS issued an EIS and ROD for the facility in 1986. The decision to issue the EIS was upheld in appeals and court cases. Additional facility history, court decision documents and related information are available on the USFS Pinyon Plain Mine webpage | Visit Page >

State Environmental Protection Permitting, Reporting & Compliance

ADEQ is the statutory regulatory agency for air quality, surface water quality and groundwater quality in Arizona.

Individual Aquifer Protection Program (APP) Permit

ADEQ received a request from EFRI to renew its General APP Permit for the lined non-stormwater impoundment (July 30, 2019).

Following this request, ADEQ conducted an extensive, comprehensive review of related environmental studies and permits, including the USFS EIS and ROD, USFS-approved Facility Plan of Operations, engineering and hydrogeological reports, facility operations and inspections, ADEQ prior decisions, legal proceedings and public comments generated over the last 30 years, on which ADEQ professionals spent hundreds of hours.

ADEQ determined that while the General APP Permits met the requirements set forth in law, and additional groundwater protections are required by the USFS EIS and USFS ROD, and USFS-approved Facility Plan of Operations, an abundance of caution suggested that an Individual APP Permit was prudent.

EFRI submitted an Individual APP Permit application to ADEQ | View/Download Individual APP Permit Application (Nov. 11, 2020) >

ADEQ has determined that all rule requirements have been met. ADEQ also has reviewed, considered and responded to all public comments received (oral and written) during the extended 45-day public comment period (June 23, 2021 – Aug. 7, 2021) and virtual public hearing held on Aug. 9, 2021. After careful consideration and comprehensive review of the extensive technical record for the mine, Tribal Consultations, and meaningful stakeholder outreach and public involvement over the last three years, ADEQ reached the decision to issue the Individual APP Permit.

Other State Permits and Related Documents for the Mine
Environmental Inspections and Enforcement

Mine Permitting History

In 1985, the facility owner, EFRI, filed a Notice of Disposal with the Arizona Department of Health Services. ADEQ was created as a separate state agency in 1987 and issued the facility a Groundwater Protection Permit (GWPP) in 1988. In 1993, at the request of ADEQ, the former facility owner applied for an APP Permit to replace the GWPP. ADEQ denied the application after the former facility owner did not respond to a request for additional information.

In 2008, the former facility owner applied for General APP Permits for the lined impoundment and other facilities. These applications were denied, in particular because of the condition of the impoundment liner at that time. The facility owner later reapplied for the General APP Permit with the necessary upgrade to the impoundment liner, which addressed ADEQ’s concern and ADEQ issued the General APP Permit for the impoundment. Subsequently, other General APP Permits for two rock storage piles and an air quality permit were issued.