What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

This land is ore land

Marketplace Staff Aug 20, 2007


Scott Jagow: Tomorrow, some folks from Congress are heading to Elko, Nevada. That’s the heart of rock mining country. The reason they’re going is to find out more about mining on federal land. When coal and oil companies drill on government property, they have to pay royalties. The same isn’t true for miners. Wren Elhai reports.

Wren Elhai: New mining claims on federal land are soaring — up 80 percent since 2003. That’s less land for recreation and more mines for taxpayers to clean up.

Many say mines should pay for the land they’re using. Jane Danowitz directs the Pew Center’s Campaign for Responsible Mining.

Jane Danowitz: These corporations are taking public resources from public lands, and they ought to compensate the public for the resources that they’ve taken.

Mining companies are willing to pay some royalties, but not the 8 percent proposed in the House right now. Russ Fields is the President of the Nevada Mining Association.

Russ Fields: It would have a real chilling effect on production and certainly would probably stop new exploration.

Western miners have a powerful ally in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. When he appears at the House hearing tomorrow, they say he’s likely to argue the high royalties would cost Nevada too many jobs.

In Washington, I’m Wren Elhai for Marketplace.

News and information you need, from a source you trust.

In a world where it’s easier to find disinformation than real information, trustworthy journalism is critical to our democracy and our everyday lives. And you rely on Marketplace to be that objective, credible source, each and every day.

This vital work isn’t possible without you. Marketplace is sustained by our community of Investors—listeners, readers, and donors like you who believe that a free press is essential – and worth supporting.

Stand up for independent news—become a Marketplace Investor today with a donation in any amount.