Gold King

US Senators have introduced legislation to amend the country’s 1872 mining law, requiring companies to pay fees to create a clean-up fund for inactive mines.

The Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2015, S. 2254, introduced by senators Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, Michael Bennet, Ron Wyden and Edward Markey, will ensure mining companies pay royalties for extracting mineral resources from public lands.

Many of the abandoned mines are continuously leaking toxic chemicals into rivers and streams and the new bill helps to make sure that taxpayers are not burdened with cleaning up these sites.

The mines also have the potential for disasters such as the recent blowout of the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado in August that spilled three million gallons of toxic wastewater into the Animas and San Juan rivers.

Communities in New Mexico and Colorado are still struggling to recover from the impact.

Under the current mining law, companies can extract gold, silver, copper, uranium and other minerals from public land and not have to pay any royalties.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Tom Udall said: "Hardrock mining companies have enjoyed a sweetheart deal for nearly 150 years, leaving taxpayers on the hook to clean up hundreds of thousands of abandoned mines leaking toxins and threatening communities across the west.

"More than 200 mines in Colorado are leaking acid mine drainage that is polluting headwaters and affecting water quality for communities downstream."

"Gold and silver on public lands are a natural resource, just like oil and gas. Taxpayers deserve their fair share of the profit, and communities across the west need that money to clean up abandoned mines."

The legislation ensures that mining companies, which did not pay any royalties for the natural resource on the public lands till now, will now contribute to the effort to clean up abandoned sites.

Michael Bennet said: "Three months ago, the Gold King Mine spill provided a sudden and devastating reminder of the dangers that abandoned mines pose in Colorado and across the west.

"More than 200 mines in Colorado are leaking acid mine drainage that is polluting headwaters and affecting water quality for communities downstream. Our bill will help clean up these mines and prevent the possibility of future tragedies like the Gold King Mine."

The Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2015 will set a 2% to 5% royalty rate for new mining operations and allow states and tribes to receive funding for reclamation programme.

Image: Entrance to Gold King Mine. Photo: courtesy of EPA.