American Geological Institute

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Legislative History and Digest of S. 504


MINING LAW REFORM

BILL NO: S.504 (104th CONGRESS, 1st SESSION)

OFFICIAL TITLE: An act to modify the requirements applicable to locatable minerals on public domain lands, consistent with the principles of self-initiation of mining claims, and for other purposes

SPONSOR: Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-AR)

DATE INTRODUCED: 03-06-95

BRIEF TITLE: Mineral Exploration and Development Act of 1995

COSPONSORS: 8 CURRENT COSPONSORS
As Introduced: Lautenberg, Leahy, Akaka, Levin, Pryor, Kohl, Feingold, Pell

COMMITTEE/SUBCOMMITTEE REFERRAL:
03-06-95 Senate Committee on Energy and Nat Resource.
03-07-95 Subcommittee on Forests and Public Land Management.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION:
03-06-95 Referred to Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
03-07-95 Referred to the Subcommittee on Forests and Public Land Management.
03-30-95 Subcommittee on Forests and Public Land Management. Hearings held.

RELATED LEGISLATION:
H.R.1580 (Young, R-AK)
S. 639 (Campbell, R-CO)
S. 506 (Craig, R-ID)

COMPLETE BILL TEXT:
The complete bill text is available on Thomas: The Library of Congress Web Site. In Thomas, click on Full Text of Legislation, then 104th Congress Bills, then Search by Bill Number, type in s 504 , hit RUN QUERY, and choose the most recent version.

BILL DIGEST...... March 6, 1995.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Title I: Mineral Exploration and Development
Title II: Environmental Considerations of Mineral Exploration and Development
Title III: Abandoned Minerals Mine Reclamation Fund
Title IV: Administrative and Miscellaneous Provisions

Mineral Exploration and Development Act of 1995 - Title I:
Mineral Exploration and Development - Sets forth guidelines for mineral exploration on public domain lands. Declares that holders of mining claims executed under this Act have the exclusive right of possession and use of the claimed land for mineral activities.

(Sec. 103) Prescribes rules for mining claim location and use of public land surveys. Provides for administrative adjudication of conflicting claims.

(Sec. 104) Sets forth: (1) an annual, graduated rental fee schedule based upon the number of diligence years following location of the claim; and (2) a forfeiture procedure for failure to pay.

(Sec. 105) Establishes a civil penalty of $5,000 per violation of mining claim fraud.

(Sec. 107) Prohibits the issuance after January 28, 1993, of patents for mining or mill site claims unless certain administrative requirements are met.

(Sec. 108) Declares that the Multiple Minerals Development Act, and certain provisions of the Act of July 23, 1955, apply to all mining claims located or converted under this Act.

(Sec. 109) Amends Federal law to subject all mineral materials deposits to disposal under the terms of the Materials Act of 1947 (eliminating the concept of uncommon varieties). Renames specified Federal laws: (1) the Surface Resources Act of 1955; and (2) the Materials Act of 1947. Repeals the Building Stone Act and the Saline Placer Act.

Title II: Environmental Considerations of Mineral Exploration and Development - Prescribes surface management guidelines for mineral activities and reclamation, including a mandatory plan of operations. Mandates that lands subject to mineral activities be restored to a condition capable of supporting their prior uses. Requires the Secretary to establish reclamation standards.

(Sec. 202) Requires the Secretary to inspect mineral activities to ensure compliance with statutory directives. Sets forth enforcement guidelines and civil penalties for non-compliance. Authorizes citizen suits to enforce compliance.

(Sec. 203) Declares that State standards for reclamation, bonding, inspection, water or air quality, which either meet or exceed Federal standards, shall not be construed as inconsistent with this Act. Permits cooperative agreements between the States and the Secretary. Prohibits the Secretary from delegating authorities or responsibilities conferred under this Act to any State or its political subdivision.

(Sec. 204) Requires the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture, in preparing land use plans, to determine those areas deemed unsuitable for certain mineral activities. Requires withdrawal of such areas from mineral exploration and development. Grants any person with an interest that may be adversely affected by potential mineral activities the right to petition the Secretary for a suitability review.

(Sec. 205) Identifies categories of lands which are not open to the location of mining claims under this Act (including wilderness, wild and scenic river, and related lands).

Title III: Abandoned Minerals Mine Reclamation Fund - Establishes the Abandoned Minerals Mine Reclamation Fund, composed of specified fees and collections, for the reclamation and restoration of land and water resources adversely affected by past minerals activities (other than coal and fluid minerals activities).

(Sec. 303) Sets forth: (1) State eligibility requirements; and (2) Fund allocation and expenditure guidelines for grant distribution among eligible States. Authorizes appropriations.

Title IV: Administrative and Miscellaneous Provisions - Amends the Mining and Minerals Policy Act of 1970 and the National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980 to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to implement specified minerals policy and actions to improve availability and analysis of mineral data in Federal land use decisionmaking for National Forest System lands.

(Sec. 402) Authorizes the Secretaries of the Interior and of Agriculture to establish user fees to reimburse the United States for expenses incurred in administering this Act.

(Sec. 404) Sets forth guidelines for a three-year transitional period during which the holder of an unpatented mining or mill site claim may elect to convert it or risk its forfeiture.

(Sec. 406) Prescribes guidelines under which a mining claim may be challenged.

(Sec. 410) Sets a minimum royalty amount of eight percent of the gross income from the production of locatable minerals or concentrates from any mining claim located under this Act, payable to the United States.

(Source: Library of Congress)


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Last updated July 8, 1996 by Heidi Mohlman, Government Affairs intern

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