It has come to light that the us government has given away an estimated 1.5 million hectares (ha) of its public lands, often for as little as us $2 per ha, for hardrock mining operations. These tracts were rich in gold, silver and other precious metals and minerals.
After a year's investigation of federal data and records on hardrock mining in the country, activist organisation Environmental Working Group (ewg) has dug up this damning information. Its report gives a detailed account of all those who profited from giving away lands and mineral resources. Ironically, the ewg's findings coincide with the 132nd anniversary of the us' 1872 Mining Law, which continues to authorise those very land transactions that are under scrutiny.
The report also shows that hardrock mining returns very little to the federal treasury. Worse still, since many of the companies are foreign-owned, they pay nothing to the government for the minerals they extract. Moreover, mining interests have left lands and rivers polluted, costing taxpayers billions of dollars in cleanup operations.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.