(KXNET) — North Dakota remains a major coal producer, but lawmakers are considering a plan to attract more companies to the state who can get more out of mined coal.
House Bill 1511 would give a tax break to companies that set up a coal processing center, which would pull rare earth minerals out of the coal. Currently, North Dakota has six active coal mines, and companies pay a severance tax on coal by the ton.
The bill would allow a company a tax break on the first million tons mined.
Supporters of the bill say more mineral development is necessary to compete with China.
“We have an incredible opportunity to develop extremely valuable coal byproducts right here in North Dakota,” said Representative Anna Novak. “It’s truly a plus one for our state, and for my district specifically, because the materials must be processed on-site.”
“Every new coal job that this state is able to create, it’s over $100,000 in wages per employee,” stated North American Coal Representative, David Straley, “so, that’s what our average wages are, they’re astronomically good.”
So far, there’s no sunset on the tax break if the bill passes the senate.