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Mining Law Reform Position
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The Industrial Minerals Association -North America (IMA-NA) supports meaningful Mining Law reform. The United States is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, including minerals.  As the nation grew, the General Mining Law established the framework for the exploration, discovery and development of hardrock mineral resources.  Those mined resources helped create the wealth and infrastructure that established America as a great nation. Our population continues to require those same resources to sustain an improving standard of living.  Today, we expect, and demand that mining be conducted responsibly and in accordance with all environmental protection laws.  We live in a globally competitive environment and the U.S. continues to need a legal framework that encourages the long-term capital investment required to develop and produce minerals on the public lands.  When mining is concluded, the land should be reclaimed. The federal treasury also should be reasonably compensated for the minerals extracted. Meaningful Mining Law reform should recognize and embrace these basic concepts.

Royalty - IMA-NA supports a production payment or royalty based on mine-mouth values for minerals produced from new mining claims on federal lands.  Industrial minerals typically are low-cost, low-margin minerals and the royalty rate applied to industrial minerals must reflect those facts. In establishing a royalty rate and valuation methodology Congress historically has recognized distinct economic models among the various minerals produced from public lands.  Similar distinctions must be carried forward in the royalty rate and valuation methodology related to locatable minerals in any reform of the Mining Law.  The royalty obligation to develop minerals on the public lands must be reasonable to keep industrial mineral production on public lands globally competitive.  A royalty rate for industrial minerals produced from new mining claims on the order of two percent (2%) based on mine-mouth values (e.g., extracted minerals) is regarded as both reasonable and fair.

Security of Title and Tenure - IMA-NA supports amendments that provide for security of title and tenure from the time of location through mine reclamation and closure.  Long-term capital investments require certainty and the patenting of lands historically provided that certainty.  If patenting were abandoned, a substitute legal framework would be required to clarify existing rights applicable to surface and subsurface activities in advance of, as well as during, development and through reclamation.

Environmental Standards - IMA-NA supports recognition of the existing comprehensive framework of federal and state environmental laws that regulate all aspects of mining from exploration through reclamation and closure.  Additional environmental standards specific to mining on public lands are not the solution.  Instead, the solution lies in compliance with, and uniform enforcement of, existing laws and regulations.

Abandoned Mine Land (AML) and Community Impact Funds – IMA-NA supports the establishment of AML and community impact funds financed by revenue generated from the royalty/production payment.  Any new programs should be coordinated with existing state and federal programs.

Access to Public Lands – IMA-NA supports the multiple use of public lands.  Absent specific Congressional withdrawals, the public lands should be open to mineral exploration and development. 

When not closed for safety reasons related to mining operations, the public lands should be open to other compatible uses.  Mineral exploration and development can, and should, occur concurrently and sequentially with other resource uses.

Mineral Materials – IMA-NA supports continued coverage of industrial minerals as locatable minerals.  The process of self-initiation embodied in the general mining laws ensures that industrial minerals will be readily accessible.

IMA-NA is a trade association created to advance the interests of North American companies that extract or process industrial minerals used throughout the manufacturing and agricultural industries.  IMA-NA stands ready to participate constructively in this important discussion regarding how to ensure a fair, predictable and efficient legal and regulatory climate in Mining Law reform.
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