Sunday, March 17, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Mining always has been committed to fostering a healthy Nevada economy and supporting the state in which we operate. We have grown as an industry and now contribute more than $417 million in state and local taxes to support essential services such as education and safety. We provide thousands of the state’s highest-paying jobs and invest billions to develop new projects.
In 2011, mining’s share of the taxes paid by all Nevada businesses was $171.4 million. In addition, we paid a $245.8 million mining tax (Net Proceeds of Minerals Tax) — a tax no other Nevada business is required to pay.
While most sectors of the economy have seen decreases in tax contributions, ours have more than doubled in the past three years. Furthermore, our per-employee tax contributions of $24,000 are four times the state average of $6,000. Mining is Nevada’s eighth-largest industry but supports a portion of the general fund that is twice our economic footprint.
Mining’s growth in recent years is a perfect example of how an industry can thrive and support Nevada even during tough economic times. Since the recession ended in June 2009, mining has added 1 out of every 3 jobs in the state.
Because modern mining is a highly technical process, we must employ a well-educated workforce to operate advanced technology on the mine site. As a result, mining pays the highest average salaries in the state at more than $87,000, including full benefits.
In addition, the industry now supports more than 2,300 Nevada-based businesses through our constantly growing supply chain.
Our continued growth requires long-term investment in developing new technologies to extend the life of our mines and to explore for new mineral resources. In 2011, mining’s in-state investment to discover new ore bodies and develop new projects totaled more than $1.6 billion.
This investment creates jobs, provides economic development to communities and generates sales taxes and induced spending throughout the supply chain. For example, $3 billion will be spent developing the Long Canyon project from when exploration began in 2005 by New West Gold to when Newmont Mining will extract the first ounce in 2017.
When it is fully operational, that project anticipates employing several hundred Nevadans.
Mining has always been there to work with both the governor and Legislature to craft sound policies for our state. We were there in 2011 when mining’s taxes increased by $48 million. We were there in 2010 when we helped balance the budget. We were there in 2009 when we agreed to prepay our taxes at the beginning of each fiscal year to assist with cash flow. We were there in 1989 when the rates were raised on the Net Proceeds of Minerals Tax, and we’ll be here again in 2013 to help devise solutions to address fiscal issues in a manner that does not inhibit the future prosperity of the state.
Tim Crowley is president of the Nevada Mining Association.