"For a Pittance, Miners Can Work Public Land. There’s a Push to Make Them Pay."

"The Biden administration is asking Congress to change the law so companies pay federal royalties when they extract metals."

"Since Ulysses S. Grant was in the White House, any company that mines gold or other metals from public land has been able to haul it away without paying a dime in royalties to the federal government.As demand is spiking for copper, nickel, cobalt and other metals and minerals that are essential for electric vehicles and other clean energy technologies, the Biden administration says Congress needs to fix the Gold Rush-era General Mining Law so it can better manage the mineral resources buried under millions of acres of public land.

A top priority: require companies to pay something in exchange for what they take. Unlike companies that extract oil, gas and coal from federal lands, hardrock miners pay no royalties to the federal government.

The call to impose a fee of 4 to 8 percent of the net value of what is mined could translate into as much as $97 million annually and drew sharp opposition from mining operators.

On Tuesday, the Biden administration said the law needed to be updated to ensure the United States developed a supply of critical minerals that are “responsibly sourced” to achieve Mr. Biden’s clean energy goals."

Lisa Friedman reports for the New York Times September 12, 2023.


"US Committee Recommends Royalties On Minerals For EVs In Sweeping Reform Proposal" (Reuters)

"Biden Unveils Long-Awaited Mining Revamp" (E&E News)

Source: NYTimes, 09/13/2023