Eastern Oregon Mining Association
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- Eastern Oregon Mining Association
- 20090601


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The EOMA has always worked with the community and schools to further education in minerals. EOMA members Ken Anderson and Chuck Chase will be conducting courses this spring at the Blue Mountain Community College. The courses are entitled Introductry Gold Prospecting. The will be held in the evenings so it will be easier for people to attend.

With the help of the Eastern Oregon Miners and Prospectors we are rounding out the courses with Field Trips. If anyone is interested in participating contact Blue Mountain Community College.

MINERS JUBILEE: JULY 17,18,19, 2009

Every miner needs to be there. We have the State championship gold panning competition, as well as hardrock drilling competition. There is gold panning for the kids, metal detecting, and demonstrations on how to run mining equipment.

We already have a lot of great vendors lined up. Louie Frick will bring his line of dredges and high bankers, Steve York has every rock and gemstone you could ask for, Steve Stebbins will bring in some of his opals, which he mines locally. Bechtels will bring their jewelry line, made from gold they mine on Elk Creek. We missed Jack and Jerri from Miners Keepers last year, but hopefully they will make it this year. They are definitely our favorite gold buyers, and they have every size of gold for sale. Howard Brooks, retired geologist with DOGAMI, will hopefully be back with his books on mining in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon.

If you know other vendors invite them! There is no cost for your booth, we just have to know how much room every vendor needs. Call Jan Alexander at 541-446-3413.


The purpose of the Eastern Oregon Coordination Alliance, (EOCA),being formed is to educate and further the common good, general and social welfare of private citizens on all issues that affect individual freedom. Private property rights and the ability of rural America to survive as an economic, cultural and social entity of the United States of America.

EOCA will serve such purposes as advocacy, support, implementation and organization of private citizens in defense of their constitutional rights against oppressive government policy. The EOCA will act as a watchdog providing oversight of publicly elected or appointed officials. Said individuals shall be held accountable for enacting legislation, public policy or actions that undermine individual freedom, private property rights and /or local. State and national sovereignty. Look out politicians here we come.


If you want to sell a mining claim, there may be an opportunity to set up a booth at Miner's Jubilee, where we could provide information on claims that are for sale, and also on equipment to mine those claims. If you want to participate in this, we will need pictures, maps, BLM serial numbers, information on production and on whether the claim has an approved plan of operation.
Contact Jan Alexander at 541-446-3413 if you might be interested in participating.


Oregon Department of Water Resources wants miners to be aware that water rights are necessary if you take water from a stream. You do not need a water right if you run a suction dredge or even if you shovel into a sluicebox in the stream. It is only when you remove the water from the stream that a water right comes into play.

Most miners in this area have utilized groundwater for mining. Oregon water law contains an exemption so that miners can use 5,000 gallons a day of groundwater for processing. Old dredge tailings ponds and even water in test holes can be a source of groundwater for processing. When this water is recycled, there is enough water to support a small scale mining operation.

There is also a surface water right that can be applied for. This is called a Limited Water Use License. The cost is $150.00 for five years of water use. The risk with one of these temporary water rights, is if someone else has an earlier priority water right, you could be shut down when water is short, and your use conflicts with their use.


No mining will take place on the North Fork Burnt River this season. The Forest Service will not be approving the 49 Plans of Operation this season. The word from Ranger Ken Anderson is maybe next season. I cannot tell you how many years we have heard maybe next season.

The judge's order was against the Forest Service for writing a deficient Environmental Impact Statement. The miners are not at fault if the Forest Service cannot get their work done.


Suzanne Fouty, Wallowa-Whitman hydrologist, may be calling you to set up an appointment to talk about stream buffers. The problem with this is if you answer her questions wrong, you will have to apply for an individual DEQ discharge permit. DEQ really likes money, and if they determine your little test hole might have the potential to put a little sediment in the creek during spring floods, the permit could cost many thousand of dollars.

Jerry Florence was not told that if he proposed testing in the floodplain that he would not be able to mine without applying for this DEQ permit. Ken and I encountered similar problems. The hydrologist will ask you where you start your buffer width. She will not tell you if your proposed buffer puts you in the discharge category. If it does, you will be prohibited from mining unless you apply for a discharge permit from DEQ.

Be very careful what you tell the Forest Service. Jerry ended up calling and telling the hydrologist that he wanted to change his buffer. Ken and I have two Plans of Operation in the watershed, and we took our evaluation sheets home because it was so confusing. We have a lot of additional questions.

Pat Cutting's claims run from Antlers Guard station to the Forest boundary. The hydrologist had evaluated the wrong location for discharge. In other words, be sure you know what the consequences are when you chose your buffer width.


A lot of you know Greg Visconty, who was the TRI Forest geologist, and was based in Baker City for many years. Greg is now in the Regional Office, and has worked to get additional funding for the Wallowa-Whitman minerals department.

The Forest Service has a huge backlog of Plans of Operation, that have never been approved. An Interdisciplinary team (IDT) will be looking at all the submitted plans in the field this summer. If miners are on site, it's fine to answer questions about your operation, however, it is always prudent to have a witness to this conversation, or record it.


Every miner should carry a small pocket recorder with him or her at all times. There have been too many instances when BLM and FS employees have a completely different version of a conversation than the miner remembers or understands. There is nothing devious about recording these conversations. We learned from experience that the BLM and FS law enforcement officers record all their conversations with us, so it is useful to do the same thing.


Another little problem with BLM has cropped up. This time, BLM wants to interfere with your statutory right to access. Even casual use operations, have a right to access their minerals. Public Law 167 states that the government will not materially interfere with your mining operation. The National Minerals Policy Act directs BLM to facilitate the orderly development of the minerals resources. None of these laws seems to bother BLM.

BLM's strategy is that when a miner submits a notice to conduct exploration on a deposit located some distance off the main road, BLM requires a bond line item for deep ripping the existing road surface when the test work is through. If a miner has a good deposit, but is not ready to go into the mining phase of the operation, he or she must rip the road in order to get the bond money returned. Eventually, if no mining is proposed, BLM will take the bond money and use it to rip the road. A lot of these roads may qualify under RS2477 if they predate 1976.

For a casual use operator (mining with hand tools), BLM has stated in front of witnesses, that the road can be used under casual use until BLM brings in a cat and rips it.

EOMA has an attorney who may be willing to take some of these on. The miners in Northeast Oregon are willing to operate within the regulations, and BLM should also be willing to do this. Any Federal employee who operates outside his or her authority, may be subject to personal lawsuits.


Watch for this one, and be sure to submit comments! Wallowa-Whitman Forest Supervisor Steve Ellis wants to close somewhere around 4,000 miles of road. He says miners will not be affected, however, if you want to prospect, and the road is closed, you can't get there to make a discovery. Another problem is that Ellis wants to put a gate on every mining road, and my bet is he wants each miner to furnish and maintain that gate. If someone else drives into your claim, they will be cited. This could be your mechanic, your geologist, or your kids. Locking up the Forest will greatly impact miners trying to work on the National Forest. Just tell Supervisor Ellis, no more road closures! - Jan Alexander


Most miners have a few of these on their claims. The Forest Service and BLM are asking that you label these containers with whatever is in them. Even if the material is only black sands, or water for panning, label the container. If the Feds have to bring in a hazardous materials team and they find out the substance is water, you may get billed for them testing it!

Miners are required to have Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on site for all chemicals and petroleum products they use in their operations. MSDS are available where you bought the product, or you can print them off the internet.


At BLM Field Manager Nancy Lull's suggestion, Jan Alexander contacted Bob Harrison, minerals staff in the Portland Office of BLM concerning the new bonding policy on BLM.

Bob explained that he thought all bonds on BLM were too low. I replied that I had over 20 years experience calculating bonds for the Forest Service, and I felt the bonds on BLM were adequate. I said also, that there had never been a default, and all miners were doing their reclamation. Bob stated that he had seen miners in other areas not complete their reclamation, and sneak away to avoid the responsibility. He did not appear to hold miners in very high esteem.

Bob appeared unaware of the BLM WO direction to calculate bonds based on the cost to BLM of hiring a third party contractor to do the work. He also appeared unaware that the 43CFR3809 regulations do not allow for BLM to calculate bonds based on worst cast scenario.

Bob stated that because of these severe economic times, contractors might all go out of business. Thus, he has instructed all offices to compute bonds based on what it would cost to have unfunded BLM employees rent equipment and do the work. Bob said he knew that calculating bonds based on having a third party contractor do the work would mean miners could post lower bond amounts. However, this did not appear to concern him.

BLM would hire a rental cat for a full 8 hours, even if the reclamation would take only a couple of hours. BLM would also hire a lowboy, and buy fuel. Wages for the BLM employees would be calculated and paid out of the bond monies at Davis Bacon rates, even if there were contractors available who could do the job for a third of what it would cost BLM.


The Forest Service, in contrast to the BLM, is working closely with the miners and with EOMA on reclamation bonds. The Forest Service is calculating bonds the way the BLM should be doing it; by calculating the amount of the bond based on what it would cost the Forest Service to hire a third party contractor to do the work.

Before a bond is finalized, EOMA will receive a copy of the bond calculation sheet. The Forest Service wants to work with us to keep bonds under our EOMA bonding MOU. Where the bond amount exceeds our agreement, the Forest Service will work with the miner and EOMA to scale back the operation so that it comes under the MOU. Should the miner wish to stay with a larger operation, he/she can choose to post part of the bond as an assignment of deposit at the bank.


That will never happen again with the 2009 EOMA Calendar. These wall calendars have all the important dates for filing your waivers, fees, and proofs of labor. They also include BLM's fee schedule, as well as various county, federal, and agency addresses, phone numbers, and contacts. The calendars highlight important mining meetings throughout the year, offer many great mining pictures each month for you to look at and pick out the folks and places you know, and include a pull-out section of interesting gold facts and lore. Each month also includes regular holidays, lunar phases, and space for your own remainders.
These calendars are essential to those of you who have mining claims, just really neat if you like mining at all, and may offer some good education for those that don't. They make great, easy, and inexpensive gifts so grab the flyer in the newsletter and order yours now... Christmas is coming and a whole new year of birthdays and other gift giving occasions. Calendars will also be available for sale at our regular first Friday meetings held in Baker City.


Miners who forget to enclose a check with their affidavit of annual assessment, or who don't pay the full amount owed, will lose their claims, starting this year. Previously, if a miner meant to pay, but forgot to put a check in the envelope, this was considered a curable defect, and all you had to do was send the money. However, a BLM Solicitor recently decided that if the correct amount was not in BLM's hands by December 30, the claims would be forfeited.
So, double check that you have enclosed $10.00/claim, along with copies of your County proofs of labor when you send in your assessment to BLM in Portland. Be sure to send these documents via certified mail. Linolium


For many years we have mined our small deposits without worrying about MSHA. After all, none of us hires employees, and many of us are simply in the exploration phase of our operations.
Well, unfortunately, MSHA has discovered Northeast Oregon. Anyone can turn you in if you are not registered, it could be the Forest Service, BLM, or environmentalists, so all miners need to protect themselves. Ron Jacobson, head of the Boise office of MSHA, informs me that it doesn't matter if you hire employees, and it doesn't matter if you are a one man/woman operation. If you are involved in mining, and use mechanized equipment, your operation may be of interest to MSHA. Several Baker County operations are now on the MSHA roles, and a lot more will be registering before the mining season rolls around.
Some operators, such as EOMP, have already contacted MSHA, and been told they are hobby mines and do not need to register. But it is up to each of you to make the call. Ron Jacobson's phone number is 208-334-1835


The Board of Directors looked at the increased liability of standing behind a bond. The Board of Directors voted to raise the bonding for the $1,500 dollar bond to $30 dollars. For miners that have had a previous $1,500 or $3,000 or higher bond the annual fee will be $30. For the first time miners applying for a $3,000 bond the fee is 10% of the bond one time fee, or $300 dollars for a $3,000 bond. There after it will be a annual fee of $30 per year. Your dues need to be current for the year you are bonding for. Your Bond and Dues Are Due At The Same Time.


The 2009's are here. Ken is closing out the 2008's and informed me he has sold out of all the 2008 Silver Medallions. But.......Our 2009's in and they are just as pretty as the 2008's. So get a hold of Ken and let him know that you want one of these limited edition medallions. The Board of Directors has set a price on them of $27.50 plus one dollar shipping. Get your order in now.

Mail your check or money order to: EOMA, Medallion, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814. The 2007's sell for $25 plus one dollar shipping. Don't wait too much longer, it's a real deal with silver going up and up, by next year these could be cheap.


Come to the EOMA meeting and catch up on the latest things that are happening in upcoming mining season. The EOMA holds their meeting the first Friday of the month here in Baker City. The meetings are held in the second floor in the City Hall Chambers of the City Hall. The Eastern Oregon Mining Association (EOMA) will meet at 6:30p.m. Friday in the City Hall Chambers. All are welcome for the general meeting to learn about the association and enjoy our monthly presentation. EOMA's monthly Director's meeting will precede the general meeting and begin at 6:00p.m.)
Should be an interesting evening so come on down and see what is happening.
For those of you from out of town go South on Main Street until you come to Auburn Ave. Make a right, go one block, City Hall will be on your left on the corner of 1st and Auburn.


In time for holiday gift giving and the new year, our Third Edition Calendar is out ! Fill out the flyer in the newsletter to order your 2009 calendars today. If you liked the prior years, you're sure to love this one too. The 2009 edition includes all the important dates, contact info, and mining facts that you've come to rely on plus a whole new array of pictures. With gold prices making history in 2008, some great operations began so don't miss seeing some of the snapshots. Order one for your house, one for your cabin, and give 'em as gifts... all year long... they're collectable !
If you missed out on the First or Second Edition of this collectable set, we may be able to come up with another 2007 or 2008 calendar for about five bucks, plus another buck for postage - just send us a note with your completed order form and check.


Thank you for your donations, please specify which Legal Fund you want your donation placed.

We would like to thank Russ Berbes, Harvey Halverson, Joe Mann and the Show Me Gold Prospectors and North Bend Prospectors for their most generous support and donations every month. With out the support from all of you we would not be able to carry the fight on DEQ Dredging Turbidity Permit. A suit filed by Hell's Canyon Preservation Council filed as Interveners on our dredge permit, because they don't think it is stringent enough. We have counter filed in the Court of Appeals. Help us keep up the good fight.......Send your generous donations to the EOMA Legal Fund, 700 PM.
A special thanks to all of you for your continued support to defend our dredging rights.
Mining Clubs and Associations across Oregon and Washington and as far away as Kansas and Missouri mining clubs and associations have formed an alliance. We are soliciting donations to defend our right to mine. If we lose it lays open all aspects of small scale


Thank you for your donations, please specify which Legal Fund you want your donation placed.
A big thanks to all of you for your donation to the Jan Alexander EOMA legal Fund.
Although the suit against Jan has been thrown out the animosity between us, Jan and the BLM hasn't changed much. Jan has requested that monies given in her name be placed in the EOMA Legal Fund. There will be a next time, the only thing I don't know is when.


It only costs $1.00 per month to run your ad in the EOMA newsletter. Send your ad and payment to: EOMA, Attn. Editor, PO Box 932, Baker City, OR 97814.


Lets support our sister organization, they have supported us with their membership and contributions to our legal fund. I have attended several of these and they are a lot of fun. Chuck Chase, Executive Director, EOMA
(Eastern Oregon Miners & Prospectors Inc) For a $75.00 annual family membership you can mine on any of our claims all you want, any time you want, keep all you find. We will show you
how if necessary. For more info write to: EOMP P.O. Box 66 Baker City, Or 97814 www.eomp.org