Fix U.S. permitting system before imposing federal hardrock mining royalties – Sen. Lisa Murkowski – by Dorothy Kosich ( – December 12, 2012)

While data may be lacking to determine how much revenue U.S. taxpayers are losing from hardrock mining operations on federal lands, a slow-moving government bureaucracy is discouraging exploration investment.

RENO (MINEWEB) – As expected, the General Accounting Office on U.S. hardrock mining and its lack of federal royalties was finally officially released Wednesday, as the ranking member on the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee questioned why reporters received the report before it was made available to the House and Senate resources committees, or even was published on the GAO website.

“Whether GAO intended it or not, leaking the report to reporters before lawmakers gives the distinct impression that the GAO is promoting its own agenda,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee.

As Mineweb reported on December 12th, the Washington Post published a story on the report one day prior to its official release. In that story, a Post reporter conducted interviews with the two lawmakers who originally requested the study.

The GAO report was mainly focused on the topic that federal government researchers were unable to obtain information on the quantity and value of hardrock minerals mined on federal lands in several western states, including the lucrative gold mining operations of Nevada.

The report partially attributed this lack of data on a failure to enact a federal hardrock mining royalty.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Murkowski said, “There’s been agreement for a long time that the 1872 Mining Law should be updated to include a royalty, reducing permitting delays, and address other priorities.”

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