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Media Contact:

Brendan McLaughlin, bmclaughlin@earthworksaction.org, 206.892.8832

Today, Senator Cortez-Masto (D-NV) and several co-sponsors will introduce legislation to change permitting for hardrock mines on federal public land. Under current law, mining claims become valid only after the miner discovers valuable minerals. The bill introduced today would waive that requirement and instead allow any person to “claim” mining rights on withdrawn public lands merely by grounding a stake, paying a fee, and filing paperwork. 

Below is a statement from Earthworks Policy Director Lauren Pagel:

“This legislation is an unprecedented giveaway to the mining industry, one that would further entrench the legacy of injustice to Indigenous communities and damage to public lands held in trust for future generations. We need mining reform that serves the needs of mining-impacted communities and taxpayers. Instead of making it easier for irresponsible mining companies to exploit our public lands, we should modernize our mining laws to deliver a more fair, just and equitable hardrock mine permitting process.”

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A study by MSCI estimated that 97% of nickel, 89% of copper, 79% of lithium, and 68% of cobalt reserves and resources are located within 35 miles of Native American reservations.