(Reuters) – U.S. mining companies are blasting proposals in Congress that would set royalties for copper, lithium and other minerals extracted from federal land, with executives saying the measures would hurt domestic production of the building blocks for solar panels, electric vehicles and other green technologies.
The House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee added language to the proposed $3.5 trillion reconciliation spending measure last week that would set an 8% gross royalty on existing mines and 4% on new ones. There would also be a 7 cent fee for every ton of rock moved.
That would mark one of the most-substantial changes to the law that has governed U.S. mining since 1872 and could raise about $2 billion over 10 years for federal coffers. The full House could reverse the committee’s move and the legislation faces an uncertain fate in the U.S. Senate.
“The race for electric vehicles and electrification of the economy requires metals and mining, and that needs to be incentivized, not stalled,” said Rich Nolan, head of the National Mining Association, an industry trade group.