The Navajo Nation geographical area extends over 26,000 square miles, occupying all of northeastern Arizona, the southeastern portion of Utah, and northwestern New Mexico. The environmental conditions vary from the dry lowlands of Cameron, Arizona to the mountainous, rough, and wet lands of the Chuska Mountain range. Mining legacy dates back to the late 1800’s for coal and the early 1900’s for minerals like uranium, vanadium, copper, and sand & gravel.
In 1989, NAMLRD conducted an on-the-ground survey of abandoned mine lands across Navajo Nation Trust lands. NAMLRD mapped and inventoried 273 coal, 33 copper, and over 1,000 non-coal (uranium) abandoned mine sites. Since then, NAMLRD 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 sites were reclaimed. The abandoned mines include both surface mine features such as open pit, rimstrips, trenches, and underground mine features like portals/adits, incline and vertical shafts. NAMLRD continues to perform limited work on coal related issues that are reported by the public.