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Program Assessment


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Bureau of Land Management - Mining Law Administration

This program is responsible for providing access to and managing the environmentally responsible exploration and development of hardrock minerals (such as gold, silver, and copper) on public lands under the 1872 Mining Law.


What This Rating Means

Results Not Demonstrated

A rating of Results Not Demonstrated (RND) indicates that a program has not been able to develop acceptable performance goals or collect data to determine whether it is performing.
  • In updating its program regulations in 2001, the agency has taken a significant step toward improving management of the program. A key change involved strengthening operator requirements for maintaining financial guarantees for reclamation of mines once operations cease. Some work still remains in fully implementing parts of the 2001 regulations.
  • The program suffers from several deficiencies relating to its enabling legislation, the 1872 Mining Law. The program is operating under several temporary authorities, producers do not compensate the government for minerals extracted from Federal lands, and the program lacks clear authority to assess administrative penalties.
  • The program needs better outcome-oriented measures to gauge its effectiveness at ensuring that mining operations take place in an environmentally responsible manner and that operators meet their obligations to reclaim mine sites when operations cease. Current data limitations make it difficult for the agency to collect certain performance information.

Improvement Plan

About Improvement Plans

We are taking the following actions to improve the performance of the program:

  • Working with Congress to update the Mining Law, including the authorization of production payments and administrative penalties.
  • Developing new performance measures to assess whether the program is meeting its goals, including those related to timely permit processing, mine reclamation, and environmental compliance.
  • Updating and linking data collection systems to ensure the program has the information it needs to track operator performance and ensure the program is meeting its outcome goals.

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