More Restrictive Mining Laws Around the Corner?

("What the hell's wrong with you Uncle Sam?")

As if Things Weren't Bad Enough Already...

As if it wasn't already tough enough out there for miners, it could very well be that more restrictive laws are just around the corner. Although the new legislatory attempts are targeted primarily at hard-rock mining efforts, placer miners will eventually feel the pinch too if things go south. - any strap, any length, any color!
Who's the culprit? A U.S. Congressman named Nick Rahall, Chairman of the House Resources Committee. He's cooked up a little scheme (bill) called H.R. 699 ("The Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act") that will have a lasting and damaging effect on the U.S. mining industry.

Salient Points of H.R. 699

Whether Rahall's comfortably snug in the deep pockets of certain vested interests or waving the radical environmentalist flag for votes doesn't really matter. If he gets what he wants, we could all be screwed. Here are just a few salient points from H.R. 699:

Casual (recreational?) mining activities would be redefined as activities that do not cause "any disturbance of public lands and resources."

Panning or the use of non-motorized mining equipment would be allowed but anything motorized would require what H.R. 699 terms a "Notice" or "Plan."

(Rahall is just another one of these. [Can you say "corrupt politican?"])

The Feds would abscond with 8% of your "action" on new mining operations, even if those endeavors were operating in the red and losing money.

You'd have to carry documentation declaring the amount, quality, composition, and intended destination for "locatable minerals, concentrates, and product" extracted from your claim.
You, as a claim holder and miner, could be audited at any time by the Feds. This includes your operations as well as those of anyone else directly or indirectly involved with your mining endeavors.

Mining claim fees would be raised and "readjusted" every 5 years.

Millions of additional acres of public lands would be placed "off limits" to any and all mining activities.

If you are feeling outraged or violated, remember that I've only listed a portion of what's contained in Rahall's little brainchild. If you want to learn even more about this dandy little gem of restrictive BS, I recommend you pick up a March 2009 copy of ICMJ's Prospecting and Mining Journal and read Scott Harn's well-written and in-depth article titled, "Rahall Proposes Bill to End All Mining in the U.S."

Gold Concentrates
Gold Pans

In my 30 years of small-scale mining I have seen each year bring more restrictions and bureaucratic horse poopie to the table. But this one goes too far. Way to far.....


If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Family Gold Panning Tours"

(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2009

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