EARTHWORKS

Factoid # 1: Want Some Fries With That Gold Mine?

Factoid # 1: Want Some Fries With That Gold Mine?
1872 Mining Law Fact #1

Published: March 5, 2003

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For less than the cost of a hamburger lunch, multinational mining companies acquire vast acres of public land rich in precious metals like gold, silver and copper.

That's because mining companies can buy public lands for $2.50 to $5.00 per acre under the 1872 Mining Law. At these fast food prices, mining companies have so far bought public land equal in size to the entire state of Connecticut. In 1994, this 19th century law allowed Toronto's Barrick Resources to purchase the Goldstrike Mine in Nevada for about $9,765. That mine is now worth $10 billion -- a difference of $9,999,990,235!

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