BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — House Democrats from some Western states are preparing to push for changes to a longstanding law that governs mining for copper, gold and other hardrock minerals on U.S.-owned lands, including making companies pay royalties on what they extract.
A report published Monday by the Government Accountability Office shows that the U.S. stands out among some other countries such as Australia, Canada and Chile that collect royalties on minerals.
The U.S. does not collect royalties on those minerals in most cases. House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva said the mining industry should pay at least as much as oil and gas companies, which typically pay royalties of 12.5% on the value of resources extracted from federal lands.
The Arizona Democrat said he also wants to change how companies acquire land for mining, so that more thorough environmental reviews can be done and some areas shielded from development.
“It’s not about stopping mining. It’s about mining being done where it should be done,” Grijalva said.