U.S. Senator Manchin promises to block mining royalty plan

October 15, 2021

The mining royalty provision that was added to the proposed $3.5 trillion reconciliation spending measure will reportedly be blocked by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin who has promised to block it from advancing in the U.S. Senate's version of the hotly debated reconciliation package, a senate staffer told Reuters.

Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat and chair of the Senator's Energy and Natural Resources committee, promised U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a Nevada Democrat, that the royalty proposal would not be included in the Senate's final reconciliation language, according to Cortez Masto's office.

The U.S. House of Representative’s Natural Resources Committee added language to the proposed $3.5 trillion reconciliation spending measure to set an 8 percent gross royalty on existing mines and 4 percent on new ones. The measure was the latest attempt to change the 1872 mining law that did not set royalties in order to encourage development of the western United States.

Supporters project that the measure, which would also set a 7-cent fee for every ton of rock moved, would raise about $2 billion over 10 years.

Mining companies support only a slight tweak in the law, but environmental groups have long urged charging the industry a fee to extract minerals on taxpayer-owned land.

Nevada produces more gold and silver than any other state and has lithium projects under development from Lithium Americas Corp, ioneer Ltd and others. Cortez Masto, who is up for re-election in 2022, has been one of few Democrats supporting the mining industry's position.

Tensions are rising in the United States over how best to procure minerals needed to produce renewable energy technologies. President Joe Biden has yet to take a public stance on the issue, though privately he has signaled plans to rely on allies for metals needed in electric vehicles, Reuters reported earlier this year.



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