Legal Alchemy: The General Mining Law of 1872 as Privatization Model

Sometime soon you will pick up a major newspaper and read that an environmental pressure group is denouncing the Bush Administration for a massive “giveaway” of public resources to a foreign mining company under the “outmoded” General Mining Law of 1872. Such attacks on the “outdated,” “tawdry,” “anachronistic,” “gargantuan fire breathing dragon” of the Mining Law have become routine. Former Clinton Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt brought this critique into the government, staging a dramatic signing of a “check” for $10 billion when, as required by law, he signed over title to land claimed by a Canadian mining company under the Mining