Washington, DC – A key U.S. House committee has passed
legislation rewriting the antiquated General Mining Law of 1872 to
impose the first federal royalties on hard-rock mining.
The bill passed the House Natural Resources Committee on a vote
of 23-15 and now goes to the full House.
It would impose royalties of 4 percent of gross revenue on
existing hard-rock mining operations, and royalties of 8 percent of
gross revenue on new mining operations.
The mining industry says the royalties are too high, but the
committee rejected an amendment to impose a lower amount.
The legislation is opposed by the Bush administration. Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada opposes royalties for existing
mining operations and says he's working on his own bill.