Complicated story this. An example from one article.Mineral Leases on Navajo Land: Navajo Reservation land, closed to mineral claim location and prospecting by the Secretary of the Interior (March 1936), was reopened by a Congressional Act of May 1938, which let the Tribal Council lease Navajo land under the new regulations with approval of the Secretary of the Interior. Six vanadium leases were approved (1939-mid 1940s) around the Carrizo Mountains in Arizona and New Mexico. Several vanadium mines opened in 1942: by 1947, 38 were producing. Most had closed when the Federal Government’s program under the Metals Reserve Company ended in early 1944. Several of the vanadium mines later produced uranium under U.S. Atomic Energy Commission procurement programs that began in January 1947. Less said the better. Full report. [url]http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/nuclear/page/umtra/shiprock_title1.html[/url] />Anyway:From the early 1940s to the end of the Cold War era, the Naturita Mill played a prominent role in national and international events related initially to the U.S. Army's World War 11 Manhattan Project, and later to the Atomic Energy Commission's efforts to procure and process domestic sources of uranium. Similarly, the mill played acentral role in the socioeconomic development of western Montrose County for more than a half century, and it impacted the economic health of the entire Colorado Plateau as well. Following the facility's initial construction in the late 1920s, it was first used to process vanadium. Used as an alloy to strengthen and give steel greater elasticity,vanadium was vital to U.S. war production efforts during World War n. Perhaps ofgreater significance was the mill's association with the Manhattan Project and with the Atomic Energy Commission's uranium procrurement program during the Cold War era.Some of the uranium mined on the Colorado Plateau during World War II was processed here before it was tested by the Army at Grand Junction, Colorado. From Grand Jimction, the uranium was shipped east for further processing at Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, and from there to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Thus it is possible tiiat some uranium processed at the Naturita Mill was used in the atomic weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in August 1945. FolIowing\he war, the Naturita Mill continued to process uraniimi used in the production of atomic weapons and for thedevelopment of nuclear energy. In this regard, the mill was associated with the Colorado Plateau's uranium boom of the 1950s, and it continued to help shape theregion's socioeconomic and political character in the post-war era.'
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