Legislative and Regulatory Update
December 2013 by Scott Harn• BLM claim fees rise
BLM has again increased fees associated with mining claims. On September 1, 2013, BLM raised mining claim fees for new claims to $194 (up from $189) for the first 20 acres of a placer claim, mill site and/or tunnel site. Placer claims are still an additional $140 for each additional 20 acres.
The processing fee has also increased from $15 to $20.
• Critical minerals bill
A bill addressing critical minerals has been introduced in the US Senate. This would be a companion bill to HR 761, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act, which passed in the House on September 18, 2013.
China has “cornered the market” on many of the critical minerals and metals, and currently produces over 95% of the rare earth elements.
Like the House version, the Senate bill would seek to streamline permitting and remove some of the roadblocks to getting a mine up and running when the commodity being mined is deemed to be critical or strategic.
• Sage-grouse habitat
Draft Resource Management Plans have been released for managing sage-grouse habitat in the western states.
The BLM will be seeking restrictions on millions of acres of public land across many western states in an attempt to preserve sage-grouse habitat. Public comments on the plans are due by January 29, 2014.
Plans have been split into regions, and you can view all of them from a central location online at www.blm.gov/sagegrouse/
Scroll down the page to the bottom and look for “November” to find links to the regional Resource Management Plans. Public meetings are scheduled for late November, December and January. There are too many public meetings to list them all here—please visit the website listed above to find the meetings in your area.
• Two million acres of proposed habitat
• Last chance for Nevada claim refunds
• California suction gold dredging update
Unfortunately, mining is politically unpopular and support of the mining industry, no matter how many jobs it brings to a state, even in times of difficult financial need, is never popular among politicians of any stripe.
- Zinke leaving office
- Property rights triumph over critical habitat says Supreme Court
- Water of the United States
Besides the EPA issue, our major priority is to work on the proposed amendment to the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act (S 145), a bill proposed in the Senate by US Senator Dean Heller (R-Nevada).
• Reopening closed areas
We will be bringing the first of several bills that were requested by Congress during a previous MMAC trip and presenting maps depicting all the MMAC-assisted Mining Districts.
We spent our evening at some informal get-togethers at two private residences in the DC area, which provided the opportunity to talk with staff members from Congress, other agencies, and a few consultants working on public land issues. We found common ground with many of them, and found a strong ally in a former Congressman turned consultant who agreed that Mining Districts provide the smartest legal route...
The Bawl Mill • Ask the Experts • Ask the Experts • Ask the Experts • Sierra County Gold—Part I • ICMJ's Annual Index • Ophir—Possibly the Best Kept Secret in Alaska—Part II • Hunting for Hardrock: The Basics • Gold in the San Francisco District Oatman, Mohave County, Arizona • Heavy Glacial Rocks and Gold in the Midwest • Strategic Metals—Part II • The Amazing Mineral Tourmaline • Melman on Gold & Silver • Mining Stock Quotes and Mineral & Metal Prices