In an effort to increase federal government revenues, the Obama administration's 2013 budget plan calls for overturning a 140-year-old mining law that exempts gold, silver, and copper miners operating in the US from paying royalties; the move is expected to garner nearly $75 million for federal coffers over the next ten years. The proposed budget plan would require hardrock mining companies operating on both public and private lands to pay a royalty payment of at least five percent of gross proceeds and end claim rights in favor of leasing agreements with the federal government. The plan also includes the creation of a hardrock abandoned mine reclamation fund by charging fees similar to what coal companies currently pay. US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar estimates that such a fund will save the federal government approximately $500 million over the next ten years. The General Mining Act of 1872 exempts most hardrock miners, including precious metals companies, from the same royalty payments that result in billions of dollars of government revenue from oil, natural gas, and coal companies each year by allowing prospectors to stake claims to surrounding public lands on which minerals are discovered. Under federal law, any US citizen at least 18 years of age (including corporations as of 1886) has the right to locate a hardrock or placer mining claim - platinum, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, uranium and tungsten mineralization amongst others - on federal lands open to mineral entry. Prior to 1920, non-metallic minerals that could be used for fuel, such as petroleum and coal, were included under the General Mining Act; however the passing of the Mineral Leasing Act that year made these and others, including oil shale, natural gas, and phosphates, subject to royalty fees and a leasing agreement with the federal government. The Obama administration is seeking to add “select hardrock minerals” such as gold, silver, and copper to the list of natural resources for which companies must pay compensation to the government for the privilege of extracting from public lands - thus ending the rights granted to citizens under the General Mining Act of 1872.