Government doesn’t know how much gold, silver, copper is being mined on federal lands: watchdog – by Rachel Frazin (The Hill – June 25, 2020)

The federal government doesn’t know how much gold, silver and copper is being mined on public lands, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The GAO, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog, found that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service do not keep track of how many minerals are extracted under “locatable hardrock mine operations” because companies that operate these mines do not need to pay royalties to the federal government.

“Federal agencies do not generally collect data on the quantity of minerals extracted from locatable hardrock mine operations—which account for 83 percent of the total number of mine operations authorized to produce minerals on federal lands,” the GAO report said.

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who requested the GAO probe, has been critical of an 1872 mining law that makes it so these operators do not need to pay royalties.

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