US Senator Manchin vows to block mining royalty plan

US Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) faces reporters outside the United States Capitol in Washington, United States, September 30, 2021. REUTERS / Leah Millis

Oct. 14 (Reuters) – US Senator Joe Manchin has vowed to prevent a proposed royalty for minerals mined on federal lands from advancing on the US Senate’s version of the hotly debated reconciliation package, a Senate member said on Thursday .

Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia and chairman of the senator’s energy and natural resources committee, promised U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat from Nevada, that the royalty proposal would not be included in the language of final reconciliation of the Senate, according to the office of Cortez Masto.

Manchin’s office declined to comment.

The pledge to block the royalty proposal in committee and in the Senate as a whole is the latest example of Manchin’s new role as a legislative proxy in an equally divided chamber.

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives natural resources committee added language to the proposed $ 3.5 trillion reconciliation spending measure to set an 8% gross royalty on existing mines and 4% on news. Supporters predict that the measure, which would also set a charge of 7 cents for each tonne of rock moved, would bring in about $ 2 billion over 10 years.

It was designed to be one of the most substantial changes to the law that has governed American mining since 1872, which has not set royalties to encourage development in the western United States.

Mining companies only support a small change in the law, but environmental groups have long called for charging the industry a fee for extracting minerals from land owned by taxpayers.

Nevada produces more gold and silver than any other state and has lithium projects under development from Lithium Americas Corp (LAC.TO), ioneer Ltd (INR.AX) and others. Cortez Masto, who is running for reelection in 2022, was one of the few Democrats to support the mining industry’s stance.

Tensions are mounting in the United States over how best to source the minerals needed to produce renewable energy technologies. President Joe Biden has yet to take a public position on the matter, although in private he has signaled his intention to rely on allies for the metals needed in electric vehicles, Reuters reported earlier this morning. year.

Report by Ernest Scheyder in Houston; additional reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington; Editing by David Gregorio

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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