Modern Perspective on Mining in America

Johnny Walker at a mine in Arizona.Many times I have heard that people who are working a federal mine claim are getting their gold for free. Here are the latest statistics (Jan. 2017) according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

There are over 2,300,000,000 square acres in the United States. Mining in the U.S. takes up 5,569,929 acres, or 8,703 square miles. Most of this total is devoted to gravel pits and coal mines. Currently there are only 345 mines producing all types of metals, gold, silver, copper, iron, etc. These 345 mines represent 2.5% of the total mined land, or 217.5 square miles. (139,200 acres)

Keep in mind that the smallest state in the U.S., Rhoade Island, contains only 1,212 square miles. So if all of the mines in the U.S. were located there, it would only be roughly 10% of the state of Rhoad Island. Note: It’s not as island!

Gold mining royalties and taxes are levied at the state level. The rate of royalties varies from state to state, based upon either gross total sales, modified gross or net smelter returns. This state tax varies from Alaska at 7%, to Washington at .48%. U.S. mine operators also pay the Federal government corporate income tax of 35% of net profits.

Mining is hard, dangerous work, and takes huge investment. Mining is also very controlled by multiple regulatory entities.


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