Sen. Murkowski responds to GAO report on 1872 Mining Law
As reported widely, the General Accounting Office (GAO) released its report on U.S. hardrock mining and the lack of federal royalties collected by the governement.
The report partially attributed this lack of data on a failure to enact a federal hardrock mining royalty.
In a statement issued Dec. 12, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said, “There’s been agreement for a long time that the 1872 Mining Law should be updated to include a royalty, reducing permitting delays, and address other priorities.”
“When we talk about instituting a royalty it’s important to remember that mining is a globally competitive sector. We have to be careful not to ship our own industry—and the jobs that accompany it—overseas,” she cautioned.
The United States faces a significant challenge in attracting investment in nonferrous mineral exploration and development because of its extended and expensive permitting system. In 1993, Murkowski noted, The U.S. attracted 20 percent of the worldwide exploration investment dollars. Today that has eroded to 8 percent.
“The decline we’ve seen in domestic minerals exploration is largely due to our failure to process permits in a timely fashion,” said Murkowski. “America is tied with Papua New Guinea for dead last in the amount of time it takes to get a ‘yes-or-no’ answer on a permit application.”
“While a federal royalty may be a part of modernizing the mining law, we have to ensure that miners can actually obtain the necessary leases and permits in the first place,” she suggested. “We need to consider addressing royalties, permitting, and other issues like geological surveys and abandoned mine cleanup, in concert with one another.”
“If done effectively, such an effort could result in more efficient government, a greater return to taxpayers, strengthened resources security, and provide environmental benefits,” Murkowski stressed.