Just when you thought it could not get any worse for us miners eh? Have a gander at House Report 112-331 and it does. Sec. 430. Section 10101 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (30 U.S.C. 28f) is amended–
1) in subsection (a)–
(A) by striking so much as precedes the second sentence and inserting the following:
`(a) Claim Maintenance Fee-
`(1) LODE MINING CLAIMS, MILL SITES, AND TUNNEL SITES- The holder of each unpatented lode mining claim, mill site, or tunnel site, located pursuant to the mining laws of the United States on or after August 10, 1993, shall pay to the Secretary of the Interior, on or before September 1 of each year, to the extent provided in advance in appropriations Acts, a claim maintenance fee of $100 per claim or site, respectively.’; and
(B) by adding at the end the following:
`(2) PLACER MINING CLAIMS- The holder of each unpatented placer mining claim located pursuant to the mining laws of the United States located before, on, or after August 10, 1993, shall pay to the Secretary of the Interior, on or before September 1 of each year, the claim maintenance fee described in subsection (a), for each 20 acres of the placer claim or portion thereof.’; and
(2) in subsection (b), by striking the first sentence and inserting the following: `The claim main tenance fee under subsection (a) shall be paid for the year in which the location is made, at the time the location notice is recorded with the Bureau of Land Management.’.
So if I read that correctly the new fee schedule will be effective upon publication of the Federal Register notice announcing the fee rate for placer claims. In a nutshell your 40 acre placer claim will now cost $280.00. How can a 40 acre claim be treated as one claim by mining laws at the time when its filed, but then be treated as two separate claims for fee payments? Maybe that’s the new math. Perhaps the courts will have a different take on this if it ever goes there, don’t hold your breath. And just where is all the money going? Now that’s a good question to ask your elected officials.
Now I’m going to flip it, if your claims don’t produce enough to pay the fees, why keep them? Could not help being a devil’s advocate. Here is an Ayn Rand quote: “Government “help” to business is just as disastrous as government persecution… the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.” As always, good luck, happy hunting!