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Hardrock Minig: Information on Types of State Royalties, Number of Abandoned Mines, and Financial Assurances on BLM Land: Testimony before the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Committee on Natural Resources, U.S. House of Representatives
Robin M. Nazzaro (au)
Statement of Robin M. Nazzaro, Dir., Natural Resources and Environment, GAO. The Gen. Mining Act of 1872 helped open the West by allowing individuals to obtain exclusive rights to mine billions of dollars worth of gold, silver, and other hardrock (locatable) minerals from fed. lands without having to pay a fed. royalty. However, western states charge royalties so that they share in the proceeds from various hardrock minerals extracted from their lands. For years, some mining operators did not reclaim land used in their mining operations, creating environmental and physical safety hazards. To curb further growth in the number of abandoned hardrock mines on fed. lands, in 1981, the Dept. of the Interior's Bureau of Land Mgt. (BLM) began requiring mining operators to reclaim BLM land disturbed by these operations, and in 2001 began requiring operators to provide financial assurances to cover reclamation costs before they began exploration or mining operations. This testimony focuses on the (1) royalties states charge, (2) number of abandoned hardrock mine sites and hazards, and (3) value and coverage of financial assurances operators use to guarantee reclamation costs. It is based on two GAO reports: Hardrock Mining: Information on Abandoned Mines and Value and Coverage of Financial Assurances on BLM Land (Mar. 12, 2008) and Hardrock Mining: Information on State Royalties and Trends in Imports and Exports (July 21, 2008). Illus.
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