Preserving Arizona's Natural Resources

Reform the 1872 Mining Law and Protect Southern Arizona from Open Pit Copper Mining

The General Mining Law of 1872 guides the management of all federal mineral resources. Its badly outdated provisions include a claim-patent system that grants private individuals and corporations free access to public land without fair taxpayer compensation for what is extracted. Rep. Grijalva knows we need to reform this outdated law to ensure that the American public is getting a fair deal for its public lands, and that mining activity does not undermine the environmental protections established through years of hard work.

Rep. Grijalva plans to introduce legislation in the 113th Congress that would create a 12.5 percent royalty rate – the same as that paid by the oil industry – on the extraction of hardrock minerals on federal land. This follows the findings of a Government Accountability Office report released in February at Rep. Grijalva’s request finding that there is little public information available about the value of hardrock minerals being extracted from public lands. You can read that report at

The Rosemont mine proposed in the Santa Rita Mountains southeast of Tucson has generated widespread local opposition and would damage local public health and environmental quality. The company constructing the mine has proposed dumping the mine tailings into the Coronado National Forest. Such a project would be devastating for the tourism industry and degrade the landscape for visitors and inhabitants. In March, Rep. Grijalva introduced H.R. 2944, the Southern Arizona Public Lands Protection Act of 2013, a bill that would withdraw federal lands in Pima and Santa Cruz Counties from new mining claims, including Rosemont. The bill is supported by the Pima County Board of Supervisors and the Tohono O'odham Nation.