Tell BLM: No Mining Near the Entrance to Canyonlands!

Aug 10th, 2023 Written by Landon Newell

Unfortunately for Utah’s public lands, bad ideas just don’t go away. In April, SUWA successfully challenged the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) approval of a controversial lithium mining project located near the entrance to Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park. Our victory provided a reprieve to one of Utah’s most popular and scenic landscapes.

The success was short-lived: the BLM has rushed to paper over the flaws we previously identified and is once again poised to approve the same mining project. The agency is proposing to allow A1 Lithium to construct two well pads (plus associated access roads) and drill two lithium wells directly off State Route 313, which is designated as the Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway.

Click here to tell the BLM this project is unacceptable.

Dead Horse Point (Adobe Stock)
Dead Horse Point (Adobe Stock)

The wells would be visible from State Route 313 and from within Dead Horse Point State Park and the Island in the Sky unit of Canyonlands National Park. According to the BLM, over one million people per year travel on State Route 313 to enjoy the scenery and to access the parks, both of which are designated International Dark Sky Parks.

In addition to scarring this remarkably scenic landscape, the proposed project would also impact visitors’ experience at the Horsethief Campground (the largest campground in the Moab BLM planning area), Cowboy Camp Campground, the Rodeo Mountain Bike Trail, and surrounding areas. One of the well pads would be located on top of the Rodeo Trail, and both campgrounds are within earshot and view of the proposed development.

Troublingly, A1 Lithium has staked more than a thousand lithium claims in this area of southeastern Utah—claims that encompass thousands of acres of sensitive public lands, including lands immediately adjacent to Dead Horse Point State Park and within the popular Goldbar Canyon and Labyrinth Canyon proposed wilderness areas. If the project area expands and the company begins mining in other sensitive areas, it could industrialize the entire landscape. As I said in a recent KUER story, “People don’t come from around the world to see pumpjacks and drill rigs. They’re coming from around the world to see the remarkable landscape.”

Industry does not get a free pass to wreak havoc on our public lands, and it’s critical that our federal agencies make this clear.

The BLM is accepting public comment through Saturday, August 26th. Please take the time to tell the agency to reject this proposal and protect Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, and the surrounding redrock landscape from industrial development.

NOTE: You can also submit your comments via email to Please reference “A1 Lithium Mineral Exploration Project” in the subject line and body of the email.

Thank you!
Landon Newell, Staff Attorney