Sunday, March 11, 2007

Congress to take on the 1872 Mining Law

The Congressional field hearing in Tucson on Feb 24 chaired by US Rep. Raul Grijalva is viewed by the nation’s mining industry as the opening salvo in a full fledged “attack” on the 1872 Mining Law. Mr. Grijalva chairs the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Parks and Public Lands. In the hearing, he announced his opposition to proposed Rosemont copper mining activities on Forest Service lands and concerns over the Mining Law.

[right- Mission mine complex, courtesy Asarco]

In a meeting with the leadership of the National Mining Association in DC last Tuesday, they told us that the chair of the Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Nick Rahall of WV, plans to have hearings on the Mining Law in May and draft reform legislation by June with intent to pass the bill this year.

NMA says they are open to certain reforms, aimed at clarifying and expediting the permitting process, but that the core elements of the Mining Law such as continued access to public lands must be continued. When asked if they could go along with a royalty on production, they argue that they already pay a higher lease fee than the oil and gas industry pays on public lands, and that the proposal of 8% on gross production is intended not so much as a revenue raiser as a punitive measure to halt mining altogether.

All in all, this appears to shaping up as one heck of a fight.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:48 PM

    i have a couple of questions, what do the people wanna change in the 1872 law? why?