Nevada Leads Nation in Mining Claims

Nevada Leads Nation in Mining Claims

A new report being released today shows metal mining claims on federal lands in the West have increased almost 50% in the past four years.

An environmental advocacy group says its review of Bureau of Land Management records found that the number of metal mining claims jumped from 220,000 at the end of 2002 to almost 325-thousand this September.

Part of the increase is due to high metals prices and part of it because of a resurgence in nuclear power has led to a renewed interest in uranium exploration.

Nevada had almost 90,000 new claims. That’s more than any other state, and a 55% increase from 2002. Wyoming was second, with almost 20,000 new claims, or a 97% increase. The Environmental Working Group says it released the statistics to bring attention to the nation’s antiquated mining laws. The group is calling for legislation to require gold miners and others to pay royalties for extraction on public lands just like the oil and gas industries do now.

Group analyst Dusty Horwitt says metals mining is, in his words, “one of the world’s most destructive industries.”

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