Nevada Newsmakers

News - September 25, 2020 - by Ray Hagar

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto wants members of the U.S. Senate to take a up-close look at Nevada's mining industry, she said on Nevada Newsmakers.

Cortez Masto, who sits on the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, told host Sam Shad that she is trying to get the top ranking Democratic senator on the committee to travel to Nevada for a closer look at one of the state's leading industries.

Nevada has the highest mineral wealth of any state, according to the Fraser's Institute rankings. More than 20 minerals are mined in Nevada, including gold, silver, copper, and lithium.

Nevada is one of the largest gold producers in the world and the largest know lithium deposit in the U.S. is located in Northern Nevada, near Thacker Pass in Humboldt County.

"There is an appetite by our ranking (Democratic) member and chair to look at that," Cortez Masto said of mining. "So that is something that is going to be on my plate."

"I've asked Joe Manchin (D, W.Va.) who is the ranking member, who may be the chair of this committee (if Democrats win the Senate majority in 2020 election) to make me a promise that, one, he will come out to the state of Nevada and look at our mining and then also make sure that mining is at the table when we are having this conversation."

When asked if taxation would be looked at, Cortez Masto said:

"This is a combination, yes, looking at the royalties that have been paid in the past and in general, just opening up that act."

The Nevada mining industry supported an average 14,787 direct employees in 2018, with about 75,000 additional jobs related to providing goods and services to the industry.

A major tax increase on mining was promoted by Democrats in a recent special session of the Legislature but failed by one vote. Lawmakers later passed three separate constitutional amendments proposing changes to how the state taxes the industry. All three will be considered in the 2021 Legislature and one will move onto the 2022 ballot to be approved by voters, Democratic leaders of the Legislature have said.

When asked if she was in favor of Democratic state lawmakers' idea about taxing mining, Cortez Masto said, 'That is not my decision to make."