Mining Claims Threaten Western Cities, Towns

  • March 11, 2008

Soaring prices for gold, copper, uranium and other metals have produced an explosion of mining claims across the West, encroaching on hundreds of sprawling cities, destination resorts, retirement communities and remote recreation retreats.

Since 2003, mining interests have staked 16,282 claims within five miles of cities and towns in twelve western states, for a total of 51,579 active mining claims within five miles of these communities as of January 2008. This claim boom near populated areas is part of a modern day land rush in claim staking. Active mining claims on public lands in the West doubled in the past five years, from 207,540 in 2003 to 414,228 in January 2008, according to an analysis of federal records by Environmental Working Group.

View maps and analysis online.