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Public Lands, Private Profits

May. 24, 1994
60 minutes

Senator Dale Bumpers calls it 'probably the most outrageous practice still going on in this country.' He is referring to a federal law passed in 1872 that allows mining companies to extract billions of dollars in public minerals virtually for free. FRONTLINE, in co-production with the Center for Investigative Reporting, examines the gold mining industry--which is in the midst of a boom bigger than the 1849 California gold rush--and the call for congressional reforms to halt environmental disasters and taxpayer giveaways. Correspondent Robert Krulwich surveys the impact of mining activities and focuses on the pitched political fight over control of mineral resources, like gold and silver, on public lands.

Producer(s): Stephen Talbot

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