Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another try to change the 1872 Mining Law

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WVA) reintroduced his proposed revision of the 1872 Mining Law today, with a bill identical to the one that passed the House in 2007. The measure would impose a 4% royalty on existing mines and an 8% royalty on new mines. The Congressional Budget Office says approximately $1 billion in non-coal metals are produced on federal lands each year. It follows on the heels of yesterday's release of the Pew report cricitizing the existing law.

Among the provisions listed by, the "Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2009" would:
  • allow the federal government to withdraw wilderness study areas, area of initial environmental concern, and areas in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System
  • impose strong permitting requirements for mines proposed near national parks, such as the Grand Canyon
  • end the sales of public lands that contain mineral resources
  • establish a clean-up fund for abandoned hardrock mines on public lands
  • create a community impact assistance account to provide financial assistance for communities impacted by mining, including funds for infrastructure and public services
  • allow for the suspension of mining permits
  • allow the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to order mines to cease operations if serious environmental pollution becomes a crisis
  • would limit mine operators to suspend mining operations for no more than 180 days without seeking the permission of the federal government
  • allow the Secretaries to deny mining plans of operations or exploration permits
  • provide for citizen lawsuits against mining or exploration programs


  1. The word Draconian springs to mind. Anti-competitive, anti-business, and no where in the synopsis of this bill did I see balancing rights for explorers, or operators. Any US inspector can rupture any mining operation and the operator has no recourse.

    So now we are going to buy all of our ores and raw materials overseas too? Get real. The laws as they have been promote business and everyone, even the NIMBY people have benefitted from that freedom to produce.

    If you want to change something, possibly restoration and certainly pollution should be addressed.

    Let 'em dig, let 'em buy, let 'em make a profit. Just clean up your doo doo.


  2. Anonymous2:13 AM

    In Idaho on year 1991 I had to deposit (bond) $200 to dig a 10 by 10 foot by 5 feet deep hole because it was closer then 50 feet to the creek. It was four feet from the creek. they had me dig by hand and replce each rock in general reorder, replace dirt and top soil and seed withen 1 week. I added 2 three foot trees from a thicket and forest sercive was real happy. The Bond was returned to me. That is the way it should be. Clean it as you go and reclaim Spend money (one Grand) to make money (one and half grand)minumin wage thru hard laber doing somthing you love and prouduce somthing humanity needs. If you make enough money to pay income tax pay it. If a miner needs to pay royalty so does a politician and a farmer and a gun sales men. and everybody that breath's ,so then give it to the king or are politicans the new land stealing royalty. From The Finder

  3. Where do they think the raw materials come from? Every thing around us has mining of some sort involved. The cars we drive, the electricity in our house, the computer with all its gold contacts that was used to post this. If the proposed changes go through every one will pay dearly as the cost of the raw materials will go up drastically thus raising the cost of everything around you. Changing the mining act will only put this country in more dependency on foreign resources. And in other countries there are even less regards to the environment so the impact of mining on the planet as a whole will be even worse. At least in the USA it is regulated. Sure the law is old but it has worked and still works. The prosed changes will draw billions of dollars away from an already costly operation stop and look at what it costs a larger scale mining operation. Who do you think will pay for it in the end... the consumer. Careful what you ask for you might just get it.