The US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to finalise a 20-year ban on new mining claims made on public land surrounding the Grand Canyon.

The ban will be placed on one million acres of land in an area known for high-grade uranium ore.

The ban, which was first announced in October, has been welcomed by conservation groups that think that it is crucial to protect an American icon, reports the Washington Post. However, the mining industry and some Republican members of Congress said that the ban is detrimental to Arizona’s economy and the nation’s energy independence.

Environmental groups welcomed the ban and noted that the Colorado River, which runs through the Grand Canyon, is the source of drinking water for 26 million Americans.

The ban will not affect more than 3,000 mining claims already staked in the area near the Grand Canyon .