Democratic support for America’s mining industry

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama said last week that he does not support Mining Law reform legislation recently approved by the House of Representatives and expressed his desire to work on compromise legislation that provides economic certainty for domestic mineral producers and prevents the export of American jobs and industries.

Obama discussed his opposition to the ‘Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2007’ (H.R. 2262) during a conference call with Nevada reporters, during which he outlined a plan to address a number of priority issues for rural Nevada, including strengthening Nevada’s mining industry.

Obama’s plan notes the hardrock mining industry provides “our country with a supply of important minerals.” In the plan, Obama states he will work with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. to update the Mining Law and “develop reasonable compromise legislation that requires fair compensation for the use of federal land, enhances environmental protection and cleans up abandoned mines.” Obama’s plan said such legislation must “provide greater business certainty for mining companies and the communities that depend on the industry.”

During the conference call, Obama said H.R. 2262, approved by the House on November 1, “places a significant burden on the mining industry and could have a significant impact on jobs.”

A copy of Obama’s plan for rural Nevada is available at:

Meanwhile, the National Mining Association (NMA) continues to fight for the industry, pointing out that “the continuing availability of minerals and metals mined in the US is vitally important to America’s future economic vitality and national security. However, over the past 13 years, America’s share of worldwide exploration spending has dropped 12%.

“In 2006, America accounted for just 8% of such spending, while in 1993, the US stood at 20%. To foster increased exploration spending, Congress must approve responsible Mining Law reform legislation that encourages increased investment in mineral and metal operations and provides a fair return to taxpayers. H.R. 2262 accomplishes none of these important goals.”