Future of US mining: House minerals subcommittee looking for ideas to foster domestic mining – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – July 2017)


U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources sought input on how to foster a more robust domestic mining sector during a July 20 hearing, “Seeking Innovative Solutions for the Future of Hardrock Mining.”

“Hardrock mining on federal land in the United States has a storied past, a challenging present and multiple needs for reform,” Subcommittee Chairman Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, said. “From rocks to roads, rare earths to green technologies, and iron ore to wind farms, all infrastructure projects rely upon a mining operation.”

While everybody at the hearing agreed that the domestic mining sector is in need of reform, there were vastly different views about what needs to be done. Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-California, ranking member of the subcommittee, made the case for modernizing the Mining Law of 1872, suggesting this law that allows the staking of mining claims on federal lands is outdated.

“The West has been settled,” he said. Others that testified at the hearing, however, see streamlining mine permitting, eliminating increases to the bonding requirements being proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and better public data on the domestic mineral potential as ways to spur domestic mining.

“It is important that we don’t lose sight of the connection between the mining activities we carry out and what these metals are needed for,” Coeur Mining President and CEO Mitchell Krebs stated. “By eliminating the unnecessary duplication that currently takes place at multiple levels of government and by tackling the lack of coordination and communication among various regulatory agencies, we could bring certainty and a level of common sense to the process.”

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