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Current Congressional Programs Affecting Resource Industries

Hon. Wayne N. Aspinall, Proceedings of 10th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1965)

It is my assigned task to outline the actions that have been taken by the current (Eighty-eighth) Congress in connection with resource industries, and outline for you the plans of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs of the House of Representatives affecting the mineral industries.

General

A 1962 Report1 to the Committee on Natural Resources of the National Academy of SciencesNational Research Council, traced the increased consumption of minerals but showed that domestic mineral production has not kept pace with consumption. The report concluded that total exhaustion of any mineral resource will never occur.... The basic problem is how to avoid reaching a point where the cost of exploiting those mineral [2] deposits which remain will be so costly, due to depth, size or grade that we cannot produce what we need without completely disrupting our social and economic structures.

The report also took the view that

Mining in the United States is carried on under laws, trade practices, traditions, and technological concepts made obsolete by the altered nature of exploitable mineral deposits and by subtle but important changes in the cultural conditions in which it is carried on. The traditional mining industry is extremely fragmented by the need (brought on by some archaic laws relating to property rights and taxation) to maintain secrecy