Mining claim fee increase proposed

The state Minerals Commission has voted to increase Nevada's annual mining claim fee by $2, to $8.50 " but Gov. Jim Gibbons says he hasn't signed off on the plan yet.

"I want to see it and review it before I make any comment," Gibbons said Wednesday, following the commission's vote on Tuesday to raise the fees on more than 200,000 mining claims in the state and earmark the new funds for the mining school at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The commission plan would raise an estimated $400,000 for the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering that has been hit with budget reductions ordered by the governor.

While there were questions whether the fee increase would run counter to the governor's no-new-taxes policy, state Minerals Division chief Alan Coyner said he had sent information on the plan to the governor and got no reply. He said he interpreted that as approval of the proposal.

Gibbons, a graduate of UNR's mining school, said he has not seen the plan and wants to make sure that the money is going for the intended purpose.

The fee is scheduled to take effect Aug. 4. A contract to ensure that the extra $400,000 goes to the mining school will come before the state Board of Examiners on Aug. 12. Gibbons chairs that board.

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