The public is becoming more concerned with the environmental impacts of mining, and the privileged access that the mining industry receives. The allocation of mineral tenures, or the law of free entry, is a key structural issue that contributes to the preferential treatment enjoyed by the mining industry. The original purpose of free entry laws was to encourage mining activity; the underlying philosophy was that mining was the best use of land. In exchange for obtaining resource development and a ”taming of the wilderness,” the government did not interfere with miner activity. Although times and values have changed dramatically, the system remains in place and in use. Its application in the 21st century is, however, inequitable and poses great risks for the environment. Structural reforms must be achieved in order to ensure that mining does not unduly harm our environment and our communities, and to place mining on a level playing field with other industrial land uses.