Backers of the petition drive that began five months ago say they've secured only about two-thirds of the 97,000 signatures they needed by Tuesday's deadline to place the measure on the November ballot.
"In addition to the greatest challenges and the shortest of time frames, we were fighting perhaps the most formidable foe in Nevada: multinational mining corporations worth tens of billions of dollars," said Bob Fulkerson of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.
He said his group, along with Nevadans for Fair Mining Taxes, will press state legislators to take the action themselves next year, forcing mines to pay more of their taxes before instead of after deducting expenses.
"Foreign-owned gold mining corporations haul billions upon billions of dollars in profits from Nevada lands every year, while Nevada goes broke," Fulkerson said Monday.
The unusually large number of signatures required was driven by the huge voter turnout in 2008, which is used to determine how many are needed for initiatives to make the ballot the next election, he said. He said that could change next time around.
"Never have this many signatures been required," Fulkerson said. "With the way that the turnout could be in 2010, we could presumably look at half that required amount for 2012."
Nevada Mining Association President Tim Crowley told delegates at the 25th annual Elko Mining Expo last week that the proposal would increase taxes 300 percent and cripple the mining industry. He said in a statement Monday the group was pleased Nevadans "have chosen not to support this highly flawed initiative."
"As one of Nevada's founding industries, mining is proud to be an important part of the state's economy, providing tens of thousands of jobs and significant tax revenue," Crowley said. "We will continue to work with our leaders and business community to find long-lasting, broad-based solutions that establish a course for future success and economic prosperity," he said.
The initiative intended to help bring in new revenue to address state revenue shortfalls. It would have amended the constitution to require that mining companies doing business in Nevada pay not less than a 5 percent tax on their gross proceeds instead of the current law that allows a tax on not more than 5 percent of the net proceeds.
Such a change would have tripled the proceeds tax on mines if it were in place in 2008, from about $92 million to about $284 million.
The Nevada Supreme Court hadn't ruled yet after hearing oral arguments last week from attorneys for mining interests and PLAN on whether the initiative was legally flawed and shouldn't be on the ballot anyway.
PLAN is made up of a coalition of labor, environmental, education and civil rights groups. Fulkerson said they will wait to see how the Legislature responds before deciding whether to launch another petition drive next year.
In an e-mail to supporters Monday entitled "It Ain't Over," Fulkerson said "taxing mining is now on the table as the first revenue choice of Nevada voters."
Associated Press writers Oskar Garcia and Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this report.