Natural Resources Committee Advances Bill Requiring Royalties for Mining Operations on Federal Land
On October 23, 2019, the Natural Resources Committee voted to advance Chair Raul Grijalva’s (D-Ariz.) bill, which is intended to update the Mining Law of 1872 (H.R. 2579, Hardrock Leasing and Reclamation Act of 2019). Unlike the oil, gas, and coal industries, companies and individuals engaged in mining on federally-owned land are not currently required to pay royalties to the federal government. H.R. 2579 seeks to update the Mining Law of 1872 and require the mining industry to pay royalties on hardrock minerals, as that term is defined therein, extracted on federally-owned land.
In its current form, H.R. 2579 would require those who produce hardrock minerals in commercial quantities on federally-owned land before the passage of H.R. 2579 to pay a royalty of no less than eight percent (8%) of the gross value of such production, or of mineral concentrates or products derived from hardrock minerals. H.R. 2579 would also require any federally-owned land added through a plan modification to an operations permit on federally-owned land that is submitted after the date of enactment of H.R. 2579 to pay a royalty of no less than 12.5 percent (12.5%) of the gross value of production of hardrock minerals, or mineral concentrates or products derived from hardrock minerals. The text of H.R. 2579 can be found HERE.