Currently on file with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are 4,272 mining plans and notices filed by 489 companies and 432 individuals, encompassing a total estimated area of 185,513 acres of BLM-managed public land in The United States. These plans and notices are filed on public land laden with gold, silver, copper and other precious metals and minerals worth billions of dollars. And these operations are only those on BLM lands, not on Forest Service lands, for which mining plans and notices are not entered into the government's LR2000 database that forms the backbone of this site. But whether the mines are on BLM or Forest Service land, none of the corporate revenue is reimbursed to the public. Instead, companies leave behind unfathomable amounts of waste. In 2001 alone, the industry dumped enough mercury nationally to fill a billion thermometers and arsenic in quantities that would pollute all public drinking water supplies for 350 years. In 2001, mines generated 45 percent of all pollution reported in the U.S. while accounting for just 0.36 percent of all industrial facilities.
|Quick facts about mining plans on BLM land in The United States|
Acres of U.S. public land (BLM land only) under mining plans and notices, estimated: 185,513
Foreign-owned corporations among top BLM land mine operators: 5 of 10
Pollution from all US mining operations, ranking among all U.S. industries: : #1 in total toxic releases
Pollution from top 89 mines in US: 5 times pollution from entire U.S. chemical industry (3,600 plants)
Western water polluted by mine waste: 40 percent of Western headwaters
Proposed mining operations that have been blocked by the Department of Interior because they posed a risk to public health or the environment: None
Other land uses that supercede rights of mining companies to operate on public lands: None
EWG analysis of data compiled by the Bureau of Land Management.
Companies have been consolidated to account for subsidiaries. View this table without consolidation.
|Company/Individual||Headquarters||Number of Mining Plans & Notices on BLM land||Estimated Acreage||Plan Date(s)|
|1||Phelps Dodge Mining Co||Phoenix, AZ||44||30,265||1980 to 2002|
|2||Placer Dome Inc||World HQ in Canada||48||15,783||1981 to 2003|
|3||Newmont Mining Corp||Denver, CO||142||14,945||1981 to 2003|
|4||Kinross||World HQ in Canada||43||12,878||1981 to 2003|
|5||Rio Tinto Limited||World HQ in Australia||56||11,961||1981 to 2003|
|6||Barrick Gold Corporation||World HQ in Canada||46||11,604||1977 to 2003|
|7||Atlas Precious Metal||Vale, OR||2||7,394||1988 to 1990|
|8||Glamis Gold LTD||World HQ in Canada||19||6,896||1983 to 1999|
|9||Bentonite Corp||Belle Fourche, SD||6||5,306||1997 to 2000|
|10||Total Minerals Corp||Casper, WY||1||5,142||1978|
|See all plan/notice holders in The United States|
|State||Number of Mining Plans & Notices on BLM land||Estimated Acreage|
|Name of Mine||Location of Mine||Mine Status||Metal Mined||Owner or Parent Company of Owner|
|Grouse Creek Mine||Custer County, ID||Closed||Gold||Hecla Mining Company|
|Morenci||Greenlee County, AZ||Open||Copper Ore||Phelps Dodge|
|Midas Gold Mine||Elko County, NV||Open||Gold||Newmont Mining Corp|
|Safford||Graham County, AZ||Proposed||Copper||Phelps Dodge|
|San Manuel||Pinal County, AZ||Closed||Copper Ore||Bhp Billiton|
|East Boulder Mine||Stillwater County, MT||Open||Platinum group||Mmc Norilsk Nickel Of Russia|
|Pinson||Humboldt County, NV||Suspended||Gold||Barrick Gold Corporation|
|Chino Copper Mine||Grant County, NM||Suspended||Copper Ore||Phelps Dodge|
|Nevada Barth Iron Mine & Mill||Eureka County, NV||Closed||Iron ore||Saga Exploration Corporation|
|Phoenix||Pershing County, NV||Proposed||Gold||Newmont Mining Corp|
|See more mines in The United States|
Source: EWG analysis.
Source: EWG analysis of Bureau of Land Management's Land and Mineral Records 2000 (LR2000) data system. For claims, acreages are estimated based on maximum allowable size of claims. For patents, acreages are taken directly from the LR2000 database where available, and are estimated based on maximum allowable size of claim that preceded the patent where acreages are not noted in LR2000. All notices are assumed to be five acres in size, and the size of plans are calculated directly as the size of the land represented by the legal land description in the LR2000 database. The acreages we estimate through these methods would tend to overestimate the actual amount. We welcome corrections here, and would welcome a federal data management system that included the acreages involved in these important federal land transactions.