Friday, August 29, 2008

GAO report on hardrock mining in the West

The U.S. General Accounting Office this week publicly released a report it gave to Congress last month on "Hardrock Mining: Information on State Royalties and Trends in Mineral Imports and Exports." The report responds to Congress’s request for information on revisions to the 1872 Mining Law by evaluating royalty policies for hard rock mining within 12 Western states, tracing the importation statistics of 15 hardrock minerals since 1975, and assessing the difficulty of aggregating information on the collection and maintenance of mining data, according to a summary in the AGI Government Affairs bulletin.

In summary, GAO concluded, “The 12 western states assess multiple types of royalties, including functional royalties, on mining operations, which often differ depending on land ownership and the mineral being extracted; in addition, each royalty can be governed by different sets of exclusions, deductions, and limitations. For example, for private mining operations conducted on federal, state, or private land, Arizona assesses a net proceeds functional royalty of 1.25 percent on gold mining operations, and an additional gross revenue royalty of at least 2 percent for gold mining operations on state lands. In addition, 9 of the 12 states assess different types of royalties for different types of minerals.” [above, Jerome copper mine, discovered in 1876]. Copyright Michael Collier]

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