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County to appeal ruling on mining taxes
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County to appeal ruling on mining taxes

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Cortez pit

This angle overlooks the pit area of the Cortez Gold Mine. On Aug. 2, 2020, the Nevada Legislature approved three resolutions for a mining tax increase.

ELKO – Elko County will be appealing Carson City District Judge James Wilson’s ruling that the Nevada Legislature can go through with action on resolutions to raise mining taxes.

Elko County Commissioners on Wednesday voted to appeal the order, allowing Deputy District Attorney Rand Greenberg to file an appeal with the Nevada Supreme Court, with the potential of other counties joining the effort.

“We can do it ourselves or join other counties,” Greenberg said.

He told commissioners the other counties that were in part of the lawsuit filed in Wilson’s court were considering an appeal but had not decided. Lander County filed that action first, and Elko, Pershing and White Pine counties joined the lawsuit.

Most of the major mines in Nevada are in those counties.

The court later consolidated the suit filed by the counties with one filed by Nevada Gold Mines LLC, which issued a statement to the Elko Daily Free Press late last week stating that NGM was considering an appeal.

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NGM stated that it “has reviewed the district court’s decision, which included that the court lacked subject matter to hear the case. Since the court said it lacked jurisdiction, the legal merits cannot be decided unless” the Nevada Legislature attempts to pass the proposed resolutions.

“If that happens, NGM will renew its challenge, including in a new case and the matter will ultimately have to be addressed by the Nevada Supreme Court,” stated NGM, which is a joint venture of Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Corp.

Two resolutions that were approved in a special summer session of the Nevada Legislature would tax mineral producers on gross proceeds of mining rather than the current 5% net proceeds tax set by the Nevada Constitution.

Those two resolutions would change net proceeds to a 7.75% gross proceeds tax on minerals, which Nevada Mining Association President Tyre Gray said could have a “cumulative effect of 400% across the industry.” One of the two designates 25% of proceeds for education.

A third resolution would change the 5% net proceeds to a cap of 12% net proceeds on mines, which Gray said would have a 140% impact on the mining industry.

The Legislature must pass one, two or three of the resolutions a second time before they then go on the ballot for voters statewide decide in 2022.

In Wilson’s ruling allowing the resolutions to go before the Legislature a second time, he stated that “serious separation-of-powers issues … would arise if the courts were to intervene prematurely in the multistep legislative process for proposing state constitutional amendments before all the legislative steps have been exhausted.”

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