Skip to content

Bipartisan Bill Would Stop Misguided Rosemont Decision From Blocking Essential Mining Projects

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) introduced the Mining Regulatory Clarity Act to allow critical mineral production to continue in the West. This legislation would address the recent Rosemont judicial decision, which could upend responsible mining projects by prohibiting mining-support activities, like waste or processing, on lands that do not contain economically valuable minerals. The decision is a significant departure from long-held mining practices and, without congressional action, could threaten critical mineral projects across the West. This legislation is cosponsored by Senators Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).

“We rely on mineral resources every day for everything from energy to technology to national defense,” said Risch. “Now more than ever, it is critical we are doing all we can to increase domestic production in states like Idaho, where we have rich mineral resources. The Mining Regulatory Clarity Act will ensure mining projects in Idaho and across the West can continue to operate efficiently and responsibly.”

“Nevada’s critical minerals are the key to our clean energy future, and we must make sure to support responsible mining and the tens of thousands of good-paying jobs it provides in our state,” said Cortez Masto. “This misguided decision would force all mining activities, even the storage of waste, to happen on mineral-rich land, which could impede critical mineral production all across the country. This bipartisan legislation will undo the damage of this decision, allow mining operations to continue under long-standing and historic application of the law, and protect the good-paying jobs this industry supports in our state.” 

“Without strong leadership, the nation’s alarming mineral import dependence is poised to go from bad to worse as demand for minerals essential to our manufacturing and energy futures as well as our national security skyrocket,” said National Mining Association President and CEO Rich Nolan. “The bipartisan Mining Regulatory Clarity Act is critically important to ensuring the U.S. can use our vast domestic resources to build the essential mineral supply chains we know we must have. This legislation codifies more than a century of Supreme Court decisions on the Mining Law, ensuring the fundamental ability to conduct responsible mining activities on federal lands. Regulatory certainty, or the lack thereof, will either underpin or undermine efforts to meet the extraordinary mineral demand now at our doorstep.”

Executive Vice President of the Idaho Mining Association, Benjamin J. Davenport, said, “Once again, Idaho miners want to thank Senator Risch for his tireless efforts to bolster our nation’s independence and his unwavering defense of the mining industry in Idaho.  Continuing to rely on adversarial governments for our mineral resources is short sighted and foolish. Senator Risch clearly understands that securing our domestic mineral supply chain is not only critical to our nation’s prosperity but also directly tied to our security.  This effort by Senator Risch is just one more example of his relentless work in defending our nation by securing the resources that facilitate our everyday way of life and protecting quality jobs for men and women in Idaho. We thank the Senator again for his efforts to push back on the disastrous policies and harmful legal opinions that continue to threaten access to our natural resources and our nation’s security.”

The Mining Regulatory Clarity Act amends the Mining Law to address the restrictive Rosemont Decision, which requires mining plans to include only public lands proved to contain economically-valuable minerals, even if those lands are planned to be used for mining-support activities such as waste or processing sites. This bill reaffirms long-held practice and previous legal interpretation that some public land use under a mining claim inherently accompanies exploration and extraction activities for other mining-support activities.

# # #