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.
• Environmental groups push for more ESA listings
• Proposed grant program to recruit mining engineering students
• Positive bill passes House
• Anti-mining bill dies in Washington State
We all know that it was never Congress’ intent to regulate gold panners and other individual mine operators through MSHA. In fact, I believe the concept of owner-operated mines with no employees was so strange a concept to the lawmakers that they never even thought there would be a need for such an exemption.
- PLF files petition with US Supreme Court on behalf of Oregon miners
- Land and Water Conservation Fund abuse by Forest Service
- Army asks for REE proposals
- Some mining claim fees increase
- Oregon miners file appeal
- US Fish & Wildlife law enforcement policing powers restrained
The paper’s crack reporters filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act, demanding public release of “secret” emails explaining why the Interior Department recommended, and President Trump approved, shrinking Bears’ Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments.
• Comment period extended for frog habitat
• Tennessee permits for gold prospecting
• California dredging injunction and restraining order hearing
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