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Mining Law Reform Introduced in House

Posted By Chris Greissing, Friday, August 15, 2014
The House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member, Peter DeFazio (D-OR), has introduced H.R. 5060, the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2014. The legislation would be a major reform of the General Mining Act of 1872.  The legislation aims to do a number of things, including:
  • Permanently end the patenting of public lands from mining
    • Unless the patent application was submitted prior to 9/30/1994
  • Establish an 8% gross income royalty on new operations and a 4% gross income royalty on existing operations
    • Except for operations w/ less than $100,000 of mining income
  • Would increase the claim maintenance fee to $150 (up from $140) and the one-time location fee to $50 (up from $34)
    • Except for operators with 10 or fewer claims
  • Would make certain lands off-limits to hardrock mining
    • Wilderness study areas; areas of critical environmental concern; roadless areas; and wild and scenic rivers
    • It would also allow states, tribal and local county governments to petition for withdrawal of tracts of land
  • Includes a wide range of new Environmental considerations
    • Secretary of the Interior has the authority to deny permission to mine if mining activities will result in undue degradation of public lands and resources.  Identified in the bill as “irreparable harm to significant scientific, cultural, or environmental resources on public lands that cannot be effectively mitigated."
  • Would allow for 2 types of permits
    • Exploration permit
      • Term no longer than 10 years
      • Cover activities that would not result in sale of minerals
      • Require submission of a reclamation plan
    • Operation permits
      • Require more stringent review
      • Require submission for reclamation, monitoring and long-term maintenance
      • Term would be for 20 years
        • 20 year renewal term if the operation is in compliance w/ the permits
  • Creates a new Hardrock Minerals Fund, which would receive all royalties created as described above, as well as a new 7-cents-per-ton fee on displaced materials from hardrock mining, claim maintenance fees above those needed for the administration of the hardrock program, and other smaller sources of funding.  
  • Two-thirds of the Hardrock Minerals Fund would go to the Hardrock Reclamation Account
    • This would be used to reclaim lands and resources affected by abandoned mines
    •   Half of the funds would go to states with abandoned hardrock mines in proportion to the amount of current and historical hardrock production in those states
A copy of the legislation is attached.   

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  Mining Law Reform 

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