Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Hardrock Mining Act on the table for new Congress

The American Geological Institute's monthly Gov’t Affairs Report says that reform of the Hardrock Mining Act of 1872 is likely to be a priority issue in the next Congress. [right, Globe copper mine. Copyright Bruce Molnia, Terra Photographics]

“In late 2007 the House passed a bill (H.R. 2262) which would impose a royalty system on hardrock mining that is similar to royalties for oil, gas, and coal industries. New claims would be subject to an 8 percent royalty on gross returns and existing claims would start to pay a 4 percent royalty. Part of the revenue generated from the new royalties would be dedicated to the cleanup of the estimated 100,000 abandoned mine sites located on national forest and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. The House bill also gives the federal government more authority over where hardrock mining can take place.”

Senators from western states are concerned that a gross royalty will push mining companies out of the country with economic hardship to local economies and cutting federal revenues. Senators are pushing for a net royalty.

Environmental groups want the higher royalties to fund cleanup projects. It sounds like the mining industry expects some kind of royalty but is looking for longer term assurances about mining operations on public lands.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) said the issue will be a priority in the next Congress and both presidential candidates support some form of mining reform.

The House bill, H.R. 2262, is online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.r.02262:

No comments:

Post a Comment