Trump moves to loosen mining regulations, approve projects as he exits

Outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is moving to loosen mining regulations and green light new mineral projects before leaving office this month, with successor Joe Biden unable to reverse some of the changes.

Administration officials tell Reuters they plan to publish a raft of decisions on Jan. 15 that will expand miners’ access to federal lands, give final approval to Lithium Americas Corp’s Nevada lithium mine and approve a land swap for a Rio Tinto Ltd Arizona copper mining project, among other steps.


Trump administration officials finalized a rule on Friday that added mining to a list of industries that can receive fast-tracked permitting, part of a law signed by former President Barack Obama in 2015, according to government records here. The change becomes effective immediately.

The law, known as FAST-41, was intended to streamline permitting for utility projects, such as power transmission lines.


Trump officials are also on the verge of approving several mining projects, or significantly advancing their regulatory review process.

One of those, the Lithium Americas Thacker Pass project in Nevada, is expected to be approved on Jan. 15, according to an official at the Bureau of Land Management.