GAO Report: $3.5 Billion Worth of Minerals Produced on Indian Lands in FY 2011

ICTMN Staff
12/13/12

Oil, gas, coal and other minerals on Indian lands were worth $3.5 billion in fiscal year 2011, up from $2.8 billion in FY 2010, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released Wednesday.

While federal lands account for the majority of resource development at 700 million acres, the GAO analysis of leases showed an increase in activity on the 57 million acres of Indian lands, specifically for oil. The total sales value of oil on Indian lands increased the most, from $0.9 billion (a production of 13.2 million oil barrels) in FY 2010 to $1.6 billion (19.4 million oil barrels) in FY 2011.

Gas remained consistent at a value of $1 billion for both years, as did coal at $0.6 billion. The cost of natural gas liquids increased from $0.1 billion to $0.2 billion for those fiscal years.

Tribal governments and Indian beneficiaries realized more revenue in FY 2011 due to the increased activity. According to the report, $538 million was disbursed to Indian country in 2011, up from $408 million in 2010.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the GAO cannot assess how much gold, copper and other hard-rock minerals are being extracted from federal or Indian lands, because mining companies are not required to pay royalties, which are based on the value of the minerals that are extracted. The corporations that mine for hard-rock minerals only pay fees to secure and maintain a lease. But the recent GAO analysis could "spur a renewed push to reform the 140-year-old law governing U.S. hard-rock mining," the Journal stated. The issue is increasingly paramount when the value of a mineral like metal is taken into consideration. Over the past decade, the price of metal has risen from $300 to $1,700 an ounce.

“This should be front and center of the natural resource agenda for this next administration,” Sen. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) told the Journal. “These hard-rock minerals belong to the American people, and today we’re quite literally giving our gold and silver away.”

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KickapooCandy1's picture
KickapooCandy1
Submitted by KickapooCandy1 on
..."because mining companies are not required to pay royalties, which are based on the value of the minerals that are extracted. The corporations that mine for hard-rock minerals only pay fees to secure and maintain a lease." Just like grazing leases on Trust properties. Some rancher get a grazing lease on my Trust lands , fattens up his cattle on my grass, takes them to market and makes a lot of money! What do I get for it? $1.35 for a 3 month period. At least thats what my statements say. BUT I NEVER SEE A DIME OF ANY OF IT! I almost had a drilling deal go through only to find they dropped the idea of drilling on my lands. Then found out they were slant drilling and probably got the oil under my property anyways! NATIVES ARE THE POOREST CLASS OF PEOPLES IN AMERICA AND THIS IS WHY! The term/name "GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE" to me is such a joke. When are they going to start making our Gov accountable to us Natives? -Kickapoocandy

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
What do yu mean the hard-rock minerals belong to the NATIVE AMERICANS !!! REMEMBER OBAMS SIGNED THE DOCTRINE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OH THATS RIGHT YOU PEOPLE DID NOT TAKE THE TIME TO LEARN THE NATIVE AMERICANS LANGUAGES YOU JUST ASSUMED YOU UNDERSTOOD ALL THEIR LANGUAGES AND TOOK TOOK TOOK!!! IN FACT NOT ONE U.S. NEWSPAPER OR NEWS STATION EVEN MENTNIONED THE SIGNING OF THE DOCTRINE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE. i WISH THAT THIS DOCTRINE WOULD GET RID OF AL THE ADOPTED INDIANS THAT DO NOT POSSESS INDIAN BLOOD!!!
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