Will the gold industry suffer?

The details surrounding the new mining tax have not been worked out. Thus far, there is nothing to suggest that the measure will single out gold miners, but Nevada is the United States' top gold-producing state. Furthermore, there are indications that the gold industry is viewed as a potential cash cow.

“We value the industry's positive impact on Nevada's economy and our communities, and we want the mining industry to be productive and profitable,” Roberson said in a media statement, according to Mineweb.

“However, mining is different from every other industry in this state. Billions of dollars of nonrenewable natural resources are extracted from our state and shipped out-of-state every year. At some point the gold will be gone. And, when the gold is gone, mining will be gone. It is imperative that we ensure that Nevadans get the best deal we can, while we can,” he continued.

NVMA advocates for miners

The Nevada Mining Association (NVMA) openly recognizes the need for the industry to pay its fair share of taxes and has expressed a commitment to working with the government to address budget shortfalls and modify tax policy.

But the NVMA insists on its website that “[t]he state must not seek any new single-source taxes, such as new or increased taxes solely on gaming, mining, or insurance industries.”

Only four industries in the state are currently subject to an industry specific tax, according to the NVMA. Mining is one of them, with the 5-percent Net Proceeds of Mines (NPOM) tax. Miners are also subject to property taxes, as well as sales taxes, which the NVMA states are the largest tax obligation for such companies.

The association's report on mining's role in Nevada's economy reveals that Newmont Mining (TSX:NMC,NYSE:NEM) and Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX,NYSE:ABX) are among the top taxpayers in several of the state's resource-rich counties.