Groups have been trying to reform this for a couple generations. Bush has said he will veto it.
House panel OKs bill imposing mining royalties. By Noelle Straub. Billings Gazette Washington Bureau
Instead of the old nearly free mining clam/patent system, mining operations would have to pay a royalty on “hard rock minerals” like gold, silver, lead, zinc, etc. like they currently do on gas and oil, coal, etc.
For the first time the 1872 mining law would not trump all other land uses.