Jun 20, 2011 10:34 PM by Jeannette Hynes
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - The Interior Department has extended a temporary ban on the filing of new mining claims in a one-million-acre area near the Grand Canyon.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made the announcement Monday during a visit to the iconic park.
The department has been analyzing whether to prohibit new mining claims on up to one million acres outside the park's boundaries, or to allow the mining industry to add to the 3,350 active claims already staked in the area.
A temporary ban that Salazar enacted in July 2009 was set to expire next month but will now last until December.
Salazar says the department needs more time to study the economic and environmental effects of mining.
He says he'll support a withdrawal of the full one million acres for 20 years.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)