In 1989, Navajo AML conducted an on-the-ground survey of abandoned mine lands and inventoried 273 coal, 33 copper and over 1000 non-coal abandoned mines. Since then, NAML has successfully reclaimed all the inventoried coal sites and received coal certification in 1994. In addition, other non-coal sites were addressed, a total of 913 uranium and 33 copper mines were reclaimed. The abandoned mines include both surface mines such as open pit, rimstrips, trenches, and underground mines with features like portals/adits, incline and vertical shafts. In the reclamation of uranium sites, the Health Physics personnel monitors radiation exposure for safety and environmental controls during the reclamation activities.
In 1988, the Navajo Nation Council approved the Navajo Reclamation Plan and Code in compliance with Title IV of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMRCRA) to establish the Navajo AML Reclamation Department under the Division of Natural Resources. The department implements, administers and conducts reclamation of abandoned mine lands (AML) on the Navajo Nation.
The goal of Navajo AML is to reclaim AML problem areas in a safe and cost-effective manner, which is being successfully achieved through dedication and commitment of the Navajo AML staff. Our strategic values include quality reclamation work pursuant to SMCRA and our reclamation plans, while managing cost and schedules. With this significant accomplishment, Navajo AML begun planning to implement public facility projects to stimulate economic development for communities impacted by past and current mining activities.
As of 2002, NAMLRP has expanded its services by implementing a “Public Facility Projects” (PFP) to assist Navajo communities/chapters with funding for renovation/construction of community public facilities/utilities through competitive grants.
To manage reclamation of abandoned coal and non-coal mines for the protection of public health, safety, general welfare, and property from extreme danger and other adverse effects from past coal and non-coal mining practices; and
To conduct repairs, renovations and construction of public Infrastructure such as senior citizens centers, chapter buildings, utilities, roads, recreation facilities in communities adversely affected by coal and non-coal mining practices.