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Mining company seeks payout for expected profits

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- A uranium mining company that has hundreds of claims staked around the Grand Canyon said it's losing out on up to $123 million in profits.

VANE Minerals LLC., blames the U.S. Department of the Interior and its 20-year ban on new mining claims on more than 1 million acres.

The department instituted the ban last year, requiring that anyone with existing claims prove sufficient quantity and quality of uranium ore before any mining could occur.

VANE Minerals, which has offices in Tucson, London and Mexico, argued in a filing with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that the ban is an unconstitutional taking of property rights and should be reversed. If declared valid, the company said it's entitled to compensation between $68 million and $123 million for expected profit loss.

The Interior Department declined comment Thursday.

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