Mining company sues Virginia to end decades-old moratorium on uranium mining

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RICHMOND, Virginia — A mining company that wants to tap one of the richest known deposits of uranium in the world says it has filed a legal challenge to Virginia's 33-year ban on the mining of the radioactive ore.

Virginia Uranium Inc. said its attorneys filed the lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Danville.

The Chatham company abandoned its campaign to end the state moratorium on uranium mining in December 2013 after incoming Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe made it clear he would not support the lifting of the ban.

The suit argues that Virginia's ban on uranium mining pre-empts federal law.

Virginia Uranium is seeking to mine a 119-million-pound deposit of uranium in Pittsylvania County known as Coles Hill.

The proposal was met by fierce opposition, based primarily on environmental concerns.

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