Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Minerals bills in Congress

 The U.S. mining industry is lining up support for H.R. 4402, a bill that would force federal agencies to complete their review of strategic and critical minerals within 30 months,  which is being voted on tomorrow in the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources. Two weeks ago, president and CEO of the National Mining Association, Hal Quinn, testified before members of the House Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee in support of Rep. Mark Amodei’s, R-Nev., National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012(H.R. 4402). According to an email from NMA, "Mr. Quinn argued that if U.S. mining cannot perform to its potential, our nation will be forced to become even more reliant upon potentially unstable foreign sources of minerals, undermining our ability to compete in the global marketplace. You can watch more of his testimony here." [Right, Miami mine, Arizona.  Credit, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold]
The American Geoscience Institute's monthly government affairs report offered a summary of the various mineral bills in front of this committee:
The House Committee on Natural Resources held hearings in April on the Map it Once, Use it Many Times Act (H.R. 4233), the Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform Act of 2011 (H.R. 1620), the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012 (H.R. 4402), and the Soda Ash Royalty Extension, Job Creation, and Export Enhancement Act of 2011 (H.R. 1192).

H.R. 4402, introduced by Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV), defines strategic and critical minerals as minerals necessary for national defense, the nation’s energy infrastructure, to support domestic manufacturing, and for the nation’s economic security. Any mine that could provide strategic and critical minerals “shall be considered an ‘infrastructure project’ as described by a March 22 Presidential Order. It would limit the total review process for mining permits to a maximum of 30 months unless signatories agree to an extension. H.R. 1192 would extend a reduced royalty rate of 2% for the development of soda ash, which expired in 2011, through October of 2016. The Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on H.R. 4402 and H.R. 1192 on April 26. 

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