HTML _ RL30310 - The Mining Law Millsite Debate
14-Sep-1999; Marc Humphries; 7 p.

Abstract: This report provides background and analysis on the debate over whether the miUsite language (30 USC 42) in the Mining Law of 1872 allows only one five-acre millsite per mining claim. In practice, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has allowed for as many millsites as can bejustified for developing the orebody. Language in the BLM's Mineral Examiners handbook allows for this practice even though it has no explicit statutory basis. The Solicitor of the Department of the Interior ruled in November 1997 that the millsite provision does indeed mean only one millsite per mining claim. Based on this interpretation the Department of the Interior disapproved a plan of operations for the Battle Mountain Gold Company's Crown Jewel Gold Mine in the state of Washington. Subsequently, the Solicitor's ruling on the Crown Jewel Mine was overturned by Congress via the FY1999 Emergency Supplemental Bill (P.L. 106-31). Both the House and the Senate have addressed the millsite issue in the context of the Interior Appropriations bill for FY2000. The Senate Appropriations Committee agreed to an amendment to permanently prohibit placing limits on acreage or millsites based on the number of mining claims (S. 1292 Sec. 336). The House adopted an amendment to its version of the appropriation bill (H.R. 2466, Sec. 332) to support the Opinion of the Solicitor. [read report]

Topics: Mining, Public Lands, Waste Management

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