Nearly half Nevada’s gold mines paid no mining taxes in 2019

gross
The net to gross ratio of Nevada mineral production overall. Taxes are paid on net. (Nevada Taxation Department Net Proceeds of Minerals Bulletin)

Of 30 operating gold mines in Nevada in 2019, 14 of them declared enough deductions to zero out their state mining tax bill.

The combined value of the gold produced at those 14 mines was $716.5 million dollars.

That’s only about a tenth of $7.6 billion worth of minerals, overwhelmingly gold, produced in the state in 2019, as reported in the Department of Taxation annual report on the industry released last month.

gross
The net-to-gross ratio of Nevada mineral production value in the 21st century. Taxes are paid on net. (Nevada Taxation Department, Net Proceeds of Minerals Bulletin)

Overall, the industry deducted 70 percent of the value of minerals produced in the state, paying taxes on the remaining 30 percent, a nearly identical net-to-gross ratio as in 2018.

Mining tax revenues are split more or less equally between the state general fund and counties in which the mineral is mined. Of the 14 mines that paid zero “net proceeds of minerals” tax to the state general fund, 11 also paid zero mining tax revenue to the counties.

Most of the miners paying zero taxes are smaller operations, mining less than $30 million worth of gold.

The list of mines zeroing out their tax bill through deductions also included some larger operations. The Bald Mountain mine owned by the Canadian headquartered global mining company Kinross Gold Corp. produced $249 million worth of gold. Kinross claimed $252 million worth of deductions, and paid mining taxes to neither the state nor White Pine County, where the mine is located.

The Jerritt Canyon mine, an underground project operated by a privately owned Toronto-based company, reported gold production worth $165 million, and deductions worth $169 million, paying mining taxes to neither the state nor Elko County.

Over the last several years both Bald Mountain and Jerritt Canyon have repeatedly claimed enough deductions to zero out their taxes. In the five calendar years from 2015 through 2019, the Jerritt Canyon mine alone has produced $787 million worth of gold and paid zero mining taxes to the state general fund.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.