Amigos Bravos works to defend the New Mexico Mining Act and its bonding provisions (requirements that mining operations put up a bond whose funds will be used for post-mining cleanup). New Mexico’s clean-up bonding provisions are among the most stringent in the world. We helped to coordinate grassroots groups and technical experts during finalization of restoration agreements for the state's hardrock mines, resulting in a strong draft Closeout Permit for comprehensive mine restoration.
We also provide leadership for the New Mexico Mining Act Network (NM MAN), an alliance of community groups, environmental law firms, mining and technical consultants, and regional and national mining reform organizations. NM MAN works to clean up mine sites and work with affected mining communities to develop post-mining economic development alternatives.
In coordination with Westerners for Responsible Mining, Amigos Bravos participated in a 2004 nationwide push for reform of the federal 1872 Mining Act by staking a mock mining claim to show how easily our nation’s resources can be exploited. In the 2005 mining reform campaign, we carried out a similar action in coordination with groups nationwide.
Amigos Bravos has provided assistance to many communities adversely affected by extractive industries. In addition to our long-standing campaign against pollution from the Molycorp mine in Questa, we have worked with communities affected by sand & gravel, copper, and mica operations.
We are now also looking at the resurgence of interest in uranium mining and milling in New Mexico. On November 6, 2009, the first application for a permit to mine uranium was submitted to the NM Mining and Minerals Division by the Roca Honda Mine of Strathmore Minerals Corporation. Amigos Bravos will be participating in the permiting hearings.
For more information on mining reform please visit bettermines.org.
Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2009
This Act, introduced in the Senate as S. 796 and the House as H.R. 699, would regulate hardrock mining (of copper, uranium, gold, etc.) on public lands. Importantly, the Act funds the cleanup of abandoned hardrock mines throughout the West through reclamation fees, a land fee, and royalties similar to those already paid by other extractive industries. According to Earthworks, the reclamation fee alone could create 55,000 new jobs for rural communities throughout the West.
The Act's sponsors are Senator Jeff Bingaman and Representative Nick Rahall of West Virginia. Full text of the Senate bill is available here.
Westerners for Responsible Mining launch the "Mine, All Mine - the Citizens Mining Company" which aims to protect clean water and popular recreation spots in New Mexico from highly polluting hardrock mines.